Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman is a fantastic crime drama with an exemplary central performance.
When Richard Kuklinski unwittingly encounters some gangsters, he catches the eye of a mafia boss who sets him to work. Kuklinski becomes a hitman, responsible for the a vas number of executions. But Kuklinski is also a family man, and they are oblivious to his notorious career…
Director Ariel Vromen, who also co-wrote the screenplay, delivers a memorable crime drama with The Iceman. The outcome of the story may be known to some, but this does not matter as the film is finely crafted to make it compelling viewing.
Based on true events, The Iceman does not shy away from violent depictions. Given its setting, themes, and indeed the casting of Ray Liotta, the film has definite allusions to Goodfellas. However Vromen distinguishes his film from Martin Scorsese’s classic by putting his own stamp on the direction.
The central character Kuklinski is cold, and responsible for such brutal crimes. He is not a character who audiences should find endearing. Yet the skill of Vromen and co-writer Morgan Land is that viewers end up rooting for Kuklinski. Some references to his background are made, but the film chooses to focus on the present day affairs. This makes the filmakers’ achievements all the more pivotal. The Iceman does not rely on a difficult backstory to generate feeling towards the protagonist; the way the story unfolds ensures that he is an absorbing figure.
With a number of great performances under his belt, Michael Shannon is a tour de force as Richard Kuklinski. His performance is both compelling and convincing. Shannon is ably supported by the rest of the cast. Winona Ryder is great as Deborah, while Chris Evans also delivers a strong performance.
Michael Shannon exhibits why he is one of the best actors in contemporary Hollywood with The Iceman. Highly recommended viewing.