Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder star in the true story of hitman Richard Kuklinski’s life.
The film is problematic from the off, in the first scene we see ‘The Iceman’ woo his girl Deborah (Ryder) and, in the same breathe, kill his first victim, mercilessly and quickly in a dark and dingey back alley.
Character stories are difficult to pitch, particularly a true story. Too much emphasis is put on the time, the year, how the character has physically changed, and not enough emphasis is put on the character itself.
Shannon’s portrayal of Kuklinksi is either an ice cold killer or a fiercely loving family man. There is no in between. He is all clenched jaws and sudden explosive rages. It is because of these reasons, that the film proves problematic. Director Ariel Vromen seems to intent to introduce audiences to the ’60s and ’70s changing fashion and has unfortunately lost his Iceman along the way.
Winona Ryder is back, all jewels and long flowing dresses, a bit of a nothing character, who, unfortunately, due to the poor script, we are unable to get any insight in to over the long period which this film spans.
David Schwimmer, James Franco and Chris Evans all make brief appearances, Schwimmer sports a charming mustache, and a number of fetching tracksuits.
All in all a disappointing film, with a script which doesn’t allow the audience any time to understand Kuklinski, or his reasons for doing what he does. It all felt a little lost on me in the end.
Naomi Jeffreys, Film Editor