From the very opening shot, “The Iceman” is spell-bounding. A movie which lowers us into a murky mind of a serial killer, it’s inspired by actual events and follows the notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men.
For audiences who like their serial killers splattered with verbose evil “The Iceman” is the perfect flick for the drama comes through as being very real and human as it follows a man who lived a double life appearing to be living the American dream as a devoted husband and father when in reality he was a ruthless killer-for-hire.
Dubbed “the iceman” because of his skillful use of cold-storage lockers to freeze the corpses, he admitted to killing more than 100 people, although estimates reach 250.
As the movie begins, we meet a remorseful Kuklinski after he is sentenced to life. Then the dark nature of man is explored as the movie takes audiences back to his early beginnings.
From his first date in 1964 with future wife Deborah (Winona Ryder), the film moves methodically as he is recruited by the mob, marries, has two daughters who know nothing of his work as an underworld assassin and quietly moves up the ranks. There are signs of a raging temper during an argument with wife Deborah and a road rage incident, but nothing alarming enough to his family.
Directed by Ariel Vromen, it’s a movie which aptly catalogs Kuklinksi’s savagery from his first killing to his arrest in 1986.
We’ll never be sure of why Kuklinksi was so evil, but what is clear is Shannon’s portrayal of this cold and callus killer is apt. His ability to grasp this complex, impassive and seemingly cold individual is deserving of an accolade.
Also starring Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas”), David Schwimmer (“Friends”), John Ventimiglia (“The Sopranos”), and Chris Evans, it’s the kind of film that sits with you. It doesn’t move at a frenzied pace, but the fine craftsmanship of Vromen’s direction is apparent.
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