To play Richard Kuklinski, Ariel Vromen needed an iceman. A guy, who’s eyes wouldn’t let anyone, see through him; an actor like Michael Shannon. When I first saw, the poster of the movie, (up there), I bursted into a fire of excitement. Shannon was the perfect choice. With the crazy look on his face, and yet, the man seemed so unpredictable, he was THE example of what exactly, Richard Kuklinski had the reputation of being. And even, the poster, is quite bipolar, itself. That is to say, on the picture, even though, Shannon could scare little, the table where he’s sitting at, is an element of seizure, between what’s happening over, and under it. More especially, what was, showed as appearances, externally, and what was expressed behind the whole family, caring father, image, that he was spreading. We can clearly see, if we look straight to him, that he’s just a weird guy, having a drink or a dinner, and the second we look down, we noticed the suppressor, and the thought of “that’s it, if somebody had to confront him, he knew he would die in the blink of an eye and without any noises” this thought was what made me craved to see this movie. Now, I would lie, if I say that I haven’t be disappointed about it.
The thing is, when you decide to adapt a real person’s life into the screen, it is more difficult than if you just wanted to write it. Therefore, you have to choose the path, or some specific side of the person’s life and develop it. Otherwise, you’d get something that scatters here and there, and probably a four hours movie. In The Iceman, Vromen, aimed at focusing the script on the bipolar personality of R.K, leading him to live a double life. The whole film is about the serial killer, dealing with, his husband and father job, and his criminal one at the same time. Something, he had been able to do, until the violent mood changes. And the director, is filming this evolution, and also explaining it, using some flashbacks of his earlier, and dark childhood. Basically, those scenes, and the ones where happen the killings are the best, but the many ellipses, and the lack of links between the different periods transitions, are setting a problem, and trasmitting the feeling, that we’ve been missing something. The movie then, gets the shape of a cloze.
However, despite the outstanding, captivating and disturbing performance of Michael Shannon, the style and the “film noir” genre used in The Iceman, are precluding it from totally drowning. That is to say, the different interactions between the characters, very quick and direct; the way the victims are killed, also quickly and in the shadow, just like it would be done in a Fritz Lang movie; and how the different decades are staged, the decor, the costumes, haircuts etc. had a big role in the “movie rescue“.
If we recall the story, Kuklinski wants the best for his family, things he never had, and, if he is obliged to get blood his hands, he will. But there is something important to see, the fact, that he’s not only doing this for his family, but also, for him; he’d been beaten for years, just like his brother, by his father. This one used to count in polish while whipping them with his belt, some trademark R.K will be using before killing. And this trauma, is important because, it had consequences, on both boys, while grown up. In spite of all the efforts made to fight against their genetic destroying nature , the urge to hurt in turn, had been too oppressive and needed. By killing other people, Richard is preventing himself to hurt the ones he really cares about. Nevertheless, he has a policy: he will never touch a child or a women.The action, takes place between, 1964 and the 80’s. We’re deep, in the “reign” of the American mafia, and it’s no surprise to discover Ray Liotta, indisputable mafioso, playing the role of Roy Demeo, the one hiring Kuklinski to do some dirty work. And even if, Richard is considered as a heartless murderer, just like his boss, we’ll only develop empathy and sympathy for our main character. This is all thanks to the way Shannon is acting. He’s incarnating a devoted and poignant father and husband, he’s ability to move from a state of mind to the other, is flabbergasting, and his cold, yet reassuring behavior, is putting the spectator into a curious but interesting position; a priceless performance, for a priceless feeling.
To conclude, The Iceman, is perhaps not the greater movie of the year, or of the thriller/biopic genre, but, it has potential and a pretty great cast. Now, I’ll keep in mind, the question everyone who’ll watch the movie will think about: Is your God, able to help everyone is distress? Yes, the Iceman has, in addition, an atheistic side, that I really appreciated.