The Iceman (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ariel Vromen|
|Produced by||Ariel Vromen
Juan A. Mas
|Screenplay by||Ariel Vromen
|Based on||The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer
by Philip Carlo
|Music by||Haim Mazar|
|Edited by||Danny Rafic|
|Distributed by||Millennium Films|
|Box office||$4.4 million|
The Iceman is an American crime thriller film based on the true story of longtime notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski. Released in 2013 at the Venice Film Festival, the film was directed by Ariel Vromen, and stars Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski, Winona Ryder as his wife, Chris Evans, and Ray Liotta.
The Iceman showed at the 2012 Telluride Film Festival and the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival before receiving a limited release in cinemas in the United States on May 3, 2013. It expanded into more cinemas in the USA on May 17. It was released to DVD on September 3.
In the 1960s, Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) marries Deborah (Winona Ryder) and the couple have two daughters. However, Kuklinski keeps secrets from his family. He works dubbing pornographic films which he then supplies to a mob operated syndicate, but he tells his family that he dubs Disney cartoons. Kuklinski is also deeply troubled. The subject of brutal beatings he received as a boy from his immigrant Polish father, Kuklinski is an emotionally disturbed and intensely violent man. In one instance a man insults him after a game of pool. Kuklinski follows the man to his car and murders him by quickly slashing his throat.
Another secret Kuklinski keeps is his younger brother Joseph (Stephen Dorff) is serving a life sentence for raping and murdering a minor girl. Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta), a powerful mob boss, shuts down the pornographic film business in which Kuklinski was involved and brings him on board to work as a contract killer after Kuklinski passes an impromptu audition for the job.
During the killing of Marty Freeman (James Franco) for using DeMeo's name too freely in his business dealings, Kuklinski meets Robert Pronge (Chris Evans), another hitman for the mob. After DeMeo puts Kuklinski on suspension for allowing a teenage girl to live after witnessing a hit (Kuklinski reveals that he never kills children), he teams up with Pronge, who is a freelancer, and splits the contract payments with him in return for helping him on contract assassinations.
DeMeo eventually finds out about all of this unauthorized employment and threatens Kuklinski at the same time that he severs all ties with him. After a while, Kuklinski's daughter is seriously injured by a hit-and-run car accident. Kuklinski suspects Pronge and shoots him in a public park.
Following an undercover sting operation, Kuklinski is arrested in the year 1986. Neither his wife nor his daughters had ever suspected him of being a cold-blooded killer. Kuklinski admitted to having committed over 100 vicious murders, both for personal reasons and for profit, in his 22-year career. After being sentenced to two life terms in prison he never saw his wife and daughters again. He died in prison under suspicious circumstances in 2006 just before he was to testify against a Gambino crime family underboss.
- Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski
- Winona Ryder as Deborah Kuklinski
- Chris Evans as Robert 'Mr. Freezy' Pronge
- Ray Liotta as Roy DeMeo
- James Franco as Marty Freeman
- David Schwimmer as Josh Rosenthal
- Stephen Dorff as Joseph Kuklinski
- Erin Cummings as Ellen
- Robert Davi as Leonard Merks
- Weronika Rosati as Livi
- John Ventimiglia as Mickey Scicoli
- Christa Campbell as Adele
- Jay Giannone as Dominick Provenzano
- Vincent Fuentes as JC
- Ashlynn Ross as Alex
Filming took place in Los Angeles, California, New York City and Shreveport, Louisiana. Shannon's portrayal of Kuklinski includes the authentic voice Kuklinksi had, as evidenced by his interviews with HBO in their 1993 documentary Conversations with a Killer.
The Iceman screened out of competition at the 69th Venice International Film Festival in August 2012. The film screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival in September that year. It was released in the United States on May 3, 2013.
Tomas Hachard of Slant Magazine gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars. Meanwhile, Ben Kenigsberg of The A.V. Club gave the film a C+ rating. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter noted that "the film's chief asset is without question its performances." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, describing it as "Zodiac meets Goodfellas". Larushka Ivan-Zadeh of Metro also gave it 3 out of 5 stars. Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune gave it 3 out of 4 stars, commenting that the film is "sleek, purposeful and extremely well acted". Oliver Lyttelton gave the film a C rating. Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B- rating. Betsy Sharkey of Los Angeles Times criticized the film. "The great failing of The Iceman is not in giving us a monster, but in not making us care", she wrote. Jason Gorber of Twitch Film wrote: "Like a stiff mixed drink that doesn't live up to the quality of its ingredients, The Iceman proves to be an unpalatable, underwhelming crime drama."
- "THE ICEMAN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
- "39th Telluride Film Festival Program guide" (PDF).
- Newman, Nick (2011-01-21). "Shannon, Franco and Del Toro to Star in ‘The Iceman’". TheFilmStage.com. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
- Fleming, Mike (2011-11-21). "Chris Evans Replacing James Franco In 'The Iceman'". "Deadline.com". Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- David's character's name is Josh Rosenthal
- "Venice Film Festival 2012: Michael Shannon chills in "The Iceman"". CBS News. August 30, 2012.
- Barnard, Linda (May 16, 2013). "Opposites Attract for Chris Evans in The Iceman". Star.
- Ridley, Jane (May 3, 2013). "Meet the undercover cop who brought 'The Iceman' to justice". New York Post.
- The Iceman at Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved September 22, 2014
- Hachard, Tomas (April 29, 2013). "The Iceman - Film Review". Slant Magazine.
- Kenigsberg, Ben (May 2, 2013). "The Iceman - Film - Movie Review". The A.V. Club.
- Rooney, David (August 30, 2012). "The Iceman: Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Bradshaw, Peter (August 30, 2012). "The Iceman – review". The Guardian.
- Ivan-Zadeh, Larushka (June 7, 2013). "The Iceman: Michael Shannon shines in his killer role". Metro.
- Phillips, Michael (May 16, 2013). "As a hit man, 'Iceman' a model of productivity". Chicago Tribune.
- Lyttelton, Oliver (August 30, 2012). "Venice Review: Michael Shannon Vehicle 'The Iceman' Is A Tired Take On The Mob Flick". IndieWire.
- Nashawaty, Chris (May 9, 2013). "The Iceman (2013)". Entertainment Weekly.
- Sharkey, Betsy (May 2, 2013). "Review: 'The Iceman' can't heat up, even with Michael Shannon". Los Angeles Times.
- Gorber, Jason (September 20, 2012). "TIFF 2012 Review: The Iceman". Twitch Film.