‘THE ICEMAN’ starring Michael Shannon is a true life story based on Mafia Hit-Man Richard ‘Iceman’ Kuklinski, and his operations he undertakes unbeknown to his family. This film does indeed have a very impressive cast; aside from just Michael Shannon on his own (I always view him as one of the best American actors working right now, with some of the most diverse work anyone could have). There is support from Wionna Ryder, Ray Liotta (all gangster as per usual), Robert ‘The Goonies’/’License To Kill’ Davi, James Franco (who I just think can be any character in any era with his cultured approach to everything), Stephen Dorff, and two virtually unrecognisable appearances by Chris Evans and David Schwimmer (yes as in the Jewish guy from ‘Friends’).
This is a mighty impressive cast; they give everything to their roles, practically Michael Shannon, however with this assembly you do think that the first time director of Ariel Vromen, doesn’t have enough material for them to work with. This is due to a fact that the film seems to just plod on from one time period to another but strangely doing so at thunderous speed. While it isn’t a huge issue you just might think, cant we just stop and explore these characters just a little more, as to me this does leave some interesting plot threads ether not explored or never really dwelled into. For example the effects of what his doing on his family feels (at times) are just hinted on, resulting in Wionna Ryder wife character just been given constant lines about where is he going?. This does make you feel like they have wasted her talents here, despite throwing everything into her role. There is also a strange idea employed here to make you want to feel sorry for the main character Richard. The thing is you don’t as his nothing more than a cold hearted killer, and to try present this in this manner is something I find very strange.
Still this shouldn’t be taken away from it, its intentions are noble! The set and costume design are rather something, there is a good sense of scale as well which should be noted on its limited budget. You also get the impression that a lot of the film was shot over a long period of time to get this assembled cast, and for the film to look so good. And of course if there is one reason to watch this, then it’s because of Michael Shannon, who (again) in my mind is still the most interesting male American actors working at the moment, and just has the most remarkable presence on screen. Probably makes sense that this film has been release in the UK now, cashing in on his new found fame which he will get from being on villain duties in ‘Man of Steel’.