Rated: R for strong violence, pervasive language and some sexual content. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 3, 2013 Released by: MILLENNIUM
Michael Shannon is the reason to see this stylish, if formulaic gangster tale which gets its name from victim cryogenics to obstruct police work.
In The Iceman Shannon's remorseless, family man in true-life mob NY/NJ hit man Richard Kuklinski (who murdered at least 100 people over four decades) brings a customary dark menace and intensity to a towering tightlipped, mustached steely figure.
People have noticed Shannon's rising career over the past half-decade thanks to films like Revolutionary Road and Take Shelter and here as Richie he immerses himself into deadpan thuggish sociopath fervor.
Much of the film is set in the middle portion of Kuklinski's life (dying in prison in 2006 during his five-consecutive life terms handed down in 1988 and who actually admitting to offing beyond his normal workload). A softer side of Richie emerges from his devotion to sweet, unbeknownst Deborah (an effective Winona Ryder) as he shifts from the porn industry to serving upper-echelon east-coast crime syndicates. Evincing a troubled, fixated character who dealt with child abuse isn't difficult for Shannon who can exude twisted wit like a slow poison drip, especially on a bustling disco floor.
Helmer Ariel Vromen draws admirably from two HBO documentaries in the last two decades which brought the mass-murder more notoriety, particular in the support for Shannon to remain watchable (as well touching on the period when the likes of the Gambinos dominated) with a stranglehold (no pun intended) on the role. Too bad his subject's dyadic nature really isn't expounded upon (like his disparate nature of performing his "duties") as he keeps Deborah, their three kids and friends and neighbors out of his pervasive loop (letting them know he's occupied in the business of banking).