THE ICEMAN follows the rise of Richard Kuklinski, one of the most notorious contract killers who during the late 1960’s to the mid-1980’s killed over 100 people. His wife and children had no clue that their loving father was a stone cold killer.
The movie itself is very matter of fact and never rises above that. Michael Shannon plays Kuklinski with the intensity he is known for but it is such a restrained performance, other than a few bursts of violence, that it becomes a little one-note at times.
The supporting cast is made up of some interesting choices. Winona Ryder plays Kuklinski’s dutiful, yet oblivious wife and she’s quite good while Ray Liotta plays a hair-trigger mob boss, but we’ve seen this many times before from Liotta.
The two biggest surprises were David Schwimmer as one of Liotta’s lackeys who just can’t seem to play by the rules and Chris Evans as a fellow contract killer who Kuklinski teams up with for a number of years. They both give interesting performances that breath a little life into the narrative.
I was fascinated by the story and remember watching the testimonial documentary with the real Kuklinski that inspired this film, but I was hoping for a more well-rounded story as opposed to the very dry chronicle that this ultimately is. My best advice would be to watch the documentary “The Iceman Tapes: Confessions with a Killer” and then watch this as a companion piece. That would make a nice heart-warming double-feature.