Cold As Ice
By Adam Sturrock
The Iceman (2013)
Director: Ariel Vromen
Writer: Morgan Land, Ariel Vromen, Anthony Bruno (Novel)
Cast: Michael Shannon, Ray Liotta, Winona Rider, Chris Evans
Length: 105 mins
Naming some of the things that Michael Shannon is good at is quite easy. Shouting, staring, looking menacing and being angry. Seeing him as General Zod in Man Of Steel is a testament to that fact. While playing the infamous “Iceman” – a contract killer who froze his victims to disguise their date of death – you get more of what Shannon does best but not much else.
Richard Kuklinski (Shannon) is clearly damaged goods. Perpetually glaring or stone faced, a murky upbringing has inevitably molded him into a choleric bull like man-mountain that will rampage at the hint of an insult to his wife, Deborah (Rider) and his two daughters. Sporting a plethora of goatees and combed hairstyles he lands in the mafia led by the mob boss, Roy Demeo (Liotta) and becomes a contract killer.
While on paper the casting is right because you rarely ever see a happy assassin, Shannon doesn’t offer much when it comes to being likable – just plenty of grim staring and the occasional shouting scene (oh how he loves to smash stuff). There is no balance at all, while you would expect the film to stay serious due to the topic, there is no other side to Kuklinski in my opinion that makes him truly endearing.
With the main focus being on the countless murders, it is ironic that it gets kind of boring. It very quickly becomes procedural and the names that are attached, meaningless. While talking to a character, there is a 1/2 chance that Richie will pull out his gun and shoot him in the head; not much of a complaint on paper but it becomes very predictable.
While the film title suggests the topic will be about the man behind the gun it very quickly shies away and points the lens at the people on the other end and inevitably it suffers from it. We do not really see the man but we see the killer that is sent for his next payload. A great idea that unfortunately was too cold to care.