The Iceman (2012)

The Iceman (2012)

Movie Details

Movie: The Iceman (2012)
Release date: 5 July 2013 (India)
Director: Ariel Vromen
Box office: 46 lakhs USD
Distributed by: Alchemy
Language: English
IMDb: 6.8/10
Stars: Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, James Franco
Adapted from: The Iceman: the true story of a cold-blooded killer
Cinematography: Bobby Bukowski
Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes


The Iceman (2012)


It has long been known that the stories of all kinds of degenerates have been and continue to be attractive fodder for filmmakers. It can be said that this perverse pleasure that accompanies us while looking at the face of a murderer is comparable to the fascination with a wild animal that we can see behind the bars of a zoo. Untamed evil seen from an appropriate, safe perspective will always be a tasty morsel for the audience. Now it’s time for a fictional version of the fate of “The Iceman” – a famous killer working on behalf of the Gambino family. Although I know that this is a significant character with the appropriate power of attraction, I am not entirely convinced whether a story constructed in this way can still be attractive for today’s pop culture recipients.

The reason for my doubts is prosaic: the nature of the events we deal with in the film and the entire “complicated” psychology of the leading character are already very well known to us. Because, yes, Kuklinski has never been the hero of any plot before, but the spirit of his dark activities has been floating around in cinema for a long time. Over the years, Kuklinski’s character has certainly been an inspiration for a number of crime writers, which is why his element – specific personality, pioneering killing methods, etc. – has been included in many portraits of murderers. However, we got to know Kuklinski better thanks to documentaries devoted to him. So making a feature film about this famous torturer today is at least pointless for me.

But the way in which this questionable plot was written also makes it difficult to see the good intentions of the filmmakers. “The Iceman” is only assumed to be about a thoroughly evil character. Kuklinski’s actions were skillfully relativized. Instead of showing the vast darkness that took over his soul; Instead of putting a clear emphasis on the cruelty he promoted, the creators preferred to focus on Kuklinski’s relationship with his family and how important it was to him. It really brought a tear to my eye.

I don’t question his devotion to his family, but for God’s sake, does the story of a man who cold-bloodedly killed nearly two hundred people really need to be presented in such a polished and morally relativized way? Well, yes, because if we live in times when, until recently, a series in which the main (anti)hero, a certain Dexter – a police blood specialist – was murdering his chosen victims after hours, which was in line with his own moral code, it is no wonder that filmmakers can present even such a clearly vile personality as Richard Kuklinski in a favorable light. Judge for yourself whether they made the right decision.

Michael Shannon played Kuklinski in the film. It would seem that the actor, who had previously become known for playing characters with a complicated temperament, would be a perfect fit for Kuklinski. Nothing could be further from the truth. The unfavorable reception of his game is mainly influenced by my knowledge of archival interviews with “The Iceman”. Shannon interpreted Kuklinski in a way that was consistent with what he had presented in several of his previous creations. His famous killer has very limited facial expressions, is quiet and distant – he has a lot of Agent Van Alden from “Boardwalk Empire” in him. Meanwhile, after listening to the recordings of interviews with Kuklinski, you can see that his facial expressions are much more varied – his piercing gaze and cynical grimace stand out. We don’t see this in Shannon’s movie, which certainly takes a lot away from the film.

Several other aspects of the film are quite decent. For example, a rich acting team, including many well-known and respected names. I think what I liked the most was Chris Evans’s performance, which was bordering on self-irony, but it was equally nice to see Winona Ryder getting back into shape. However, this does not change the fact that, overall, the film “The Iceman” is a classic mediocre film that intrigues before the screening and leaves us in apathy somewhere in the middle. All that remains is to go to to once again see what Richard Kuklinski really was like; as he spoke about himself honestly and openly.

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