The Iceman


The Iceman

Critics Consensus

While it deserved stronger direction and a more fully realized script, Michael Shannon's riveting performance in the title role is more than enough to make The Iceman recommended viewing.



Total Count: 124


Audience Score

User Ratings: 24,724
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Movie Info

Inspired by actual events, The Iceman follows notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Academy Award (R) nominee Michael Shannon) from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men. Appearing to be living the American dream as a devoted husband and father; in reality Kuklinski was a ruthless killer-for-hire. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.(c) Millennium


Michael Shannon
as Richard Kuklinski
Winona Ryder
as Deborah Pellicotti
James Franco
as Marty Freeman
Chris Evans
as Mr. Freezy
Ray Liotta
as Roy Demeo
David Schwimmer
as Josh Rosenthal
Danny A. Abeckaser
as Dino Lapron
Robert Davi
as Leonard Merks
John Ventimiglia
as Mickey Scicoli
Ryan O'Nan
as Terry Franzo
Stephen Dorff
as Joey Kuklinski
Hector Hank
as Tender Bar Earl
Shira Vilenski
as Coffee Shop Waitress
Kelly Lind
as Hospital Nurse
John P. Fertitta
as Uncle Bill
Jimmy Lee Gary Jr.
as Homeless Man
Johnny Martin
as Marielli
Nick Gomez
as Alvaro
Brian Kinney
as Slick BMW Guy
Alexandra Doke
as Park Little Girl
Bill Martin Williams
as Club Maitre D'
Lindsay Erin Clift
as Club USA Dance Partner
Jay Giannino
as Dominick Provenzano
Freddy Bosche
as Detective Beaumont
Garrett Kruithof
as Stanley Kuklinski
Juan Michael Konshuk-Mas
as Mr. Freezy's Son
Ehud Bleiberg
as Trial Judge
Jonathan Vender
as Trial Judge Voice
Tommy Alastra
as Documentary Interviewer Voice
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News & Interviews for The Iceman

Critic Reviews for The Iceman

All Critics (124) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (41)

  • Suspect barnets aside, there's not a lot to take away from this by-the-numbers genre piece.

    Jun 6, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Even the always-watchable Shannon can't give much life to Kuklinski's two-dimensional presence: he's little more than a series of murders and pained looks.

    Jun 4, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Shannon gets at his character's pent-up torment as well as his efficient disconnect. When his two worlds start to converge -- on his daughter's sweet 16th birthday, no less -- you feel for him.

    May 17, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • A true-crime thriller directed with grit, gristle and punchy energy by Ariel Vromen, The Iceman is never less than fascinating, even if things get a little ham-fisted here and there.

    May 17, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • As the body count mounts, the movie begins to spin out of control, but Shannon and Vromen don't let it derail. Their focus keep things from melting down.

    May 17, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Michael Shannon is an overpowering actor, and in The Iceman, the best that he can do is wrestle the movie around him to a stalemate.

    May 17, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Iceman

  • Jul 16, 2015
    Solid film. Understandably very dark and hard to watch at times, but all in all, this is a well-rounded portrayal of a mafia hitman by Iceman's writers and Michael Shannon. Not for the faint of heart, but if you like mafia movies, you might enjoy this.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2015
    As Richard Kuklinski(Michael Shannon) tells Deborah(Winona Ryder), his blind date, he dubs Walt Disney films. Well, that is not exactly true, as in fact, he dubs porn films for a living. Plus, there is that violent streak he has. That comes in handy when Roy Demeo(Ray Liotta) arrives to shut down his business. Because Roy as part of the mob has a use for men like Richard which he proves in killing a homeless man in broad daylight. "The Iceman" is one of those based on a true stories that wants to rests on the fact that it is a true story and do nothing more to explore the contradictions in its protagonist.(Plus, the exact dating of events is unnecessary.) In the bargain, it says little on the subject of suburban sociopaths that has not already been said and then some in such fictional examples as "Breaking Bad" and Dexter." That lackluster approach is certainly not helped by Michael Shannon's 1 1/2 note performance. At least, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta and a nearly unrecognizable Chris Evans are very good in support.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 12, 2014
    An exceptional performance from Shannon lifts this real-life story to another level (why couldn't he be this terrifying in 'Man of Steel'?). Not up to 'Goodfellas' level this is still an intriguing story with impressive performances from most of the cast (not sure about Schwimmer with a dodgy moustache though). Watch it for Shannon's terrifying turn.
    David S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2014
    I don't know whether to jokingly mistake this for "The Iceman Cometh" or jokingly mistake this for 1984's "Iceman", because where this film is about to get about as much attention as "The Iceman Cometh", - which should tell you just how many people forgot about '84's "Iceman" - "Iceman" is a sci-fi film, and, naturally, a spin-off from the "X-Men" series would be considered science fiction. Man, as if "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" didn't seem enough like an unnecessary prequel, I can't believe they scrapped the idea for "X-Men Origins: Magneto" to make a prequel about Bobby "Iceman" Drake, nor can I believe Michael Shannon would betray DC by being in a Marvel superhero film before he played Zod in "Man of Steel". Even more than that, I can't believe that I just spent two sentences running with the joke that I'm mistaking this for a film about Iceman from the "X-Men", because it's bad enough that the book upon which this film is based pulls a title pun with "The Iceman: The True Story of a [u]Cold[/u]-Blooded Killer". At any rate, Chris Cox of already made the Bobby Drake joke in his review of this film, and he's a comic geek, so he can be sort of excused. I, on the other hand, am not nearly as nerdy as a lot of people think I am; fast cars and motorcycles, steaks, beautiful women, rock music and whatnot, in addition, of course, to this film, which is also pretty hardcore. It would have to be, because Michael Shannon is scary enough when he's not involved in organized crime... rare though those occasions may be. Apparently everyone else thought that he had the fish face for crime, and I must admit that he does a fine job of it, even if the films he's in aren't as consistent in their effectiveness. The film does little to flesh out pretty important supporting characters, and even brushes over the development of its lead, until it becomes underdeveloped, with well-rounded moments in characterization, just not enough for you to feel rather distanced from the undercooked affair, particularly when you find that the film spends much of the precious time that it could be spending on fleshing things out on dragging. About as much as its undercooked, this film is overblown, with excesses in material that really do start to run together after a while, resulting in repetition that may very well eventually devolve into aimlessness. The film's near-unfocused dragging really does defuse a sense of momentum through a repetitious formula that would be easier to forgive if it was at least mildly refreshing. The subject matter itself isn't especially originality, but it could have been interpreted refreshingly in certain places, and is ultimately interpreted with characterization and plotting that are rich with familiar beats and tropes which reflect a certain laziness to storytelling. Quite frankly, limp storytelling is what really undercuts this promising effort, at least to a certain degree, as there is plenty of inspiration, up until inspiration loses its confidence, leaving scripted flesh-out to receive only so much attention, while directorial bite fails to compensate for scripting missteps. Yes, Vromen's direction bites pretty hard at times, and for that matter, Vromen's and Morgan Land's isn't too shabby either, but realization to writing and direction are limited, and that's a shame, because even though this film comes mighty close to rewarding, repetitiously near-unfocused pacing, familiarity and other areas of borderline laziness leave the final product to fall just short of its potential. Of course, the potential is clear enough in view for the final product to engage through all of its many shortcomings, particularly on an artistic level. Haim Mazar's score boasts a haunting brood and subtle intensity to ambience that is not only stylistically impressive, but tonally biting, while Bobby Bukowski's direction proves to be, not simply even more effective than the score, but just plain outstanding by its own right, being rich with a heavy bleakness to coloration and lighting that is ruggedly beautiful, with a grit that fits this thriller's harsh tone like a glove. To be honest, the aesthetics are about as strong as anything in this should-be more substance-driven drama, though that's not a bad thing, as style is nothing short of solid, which isn't to say that substance doesn't deserve some attention. This very human hit man thriller story concept is conventional, but intriguing, with a meditativeness upon the madness of a criminal, and how his questionable profession affects his life and the lives of this loved ones and other peers, that has a potential for being interpreted uniquely, or at least grippingly. Direction and writing, of course, fall flat in enough places to be a key factor behind the final product's relative underwhelmingness, but at the same time, storytelling secures many of the effective moments that bring this effort to the brink of rewarding, as Ariel Vromen's and Morgan Land's screenplay has solid characterization, while Vromen's direction carries some solid thoughtfulness - often pumped up by an audacious and brutally realistic attention to graphic, if sometimes overly disturbing violence - that often draws on intensity, if not dramatic resonance. Were the film tighter and more consistent in its realization, this film would have perhaps easily been rewarding, but it's still pretty engaging, partly thanks to some highlights in offscreen talent, and partly thanks to many highlights within the onscreen talent. As undercooked as the supporting characters are, most everyone in this cast engages with range that touches upon most anything from smooth charisma to dramatic punch, and that especially goes for Michael Shannon, whose underwritten, but quietly intense and expressive portrayal of a madman who comes to be haunted by his notoriety in a rotten criminal business carries the dramatic layers of the film about as much as the strongest moments in storytelling. Even the material behind Shannon's performance stands to be meatier, as it's so thin that not even a talent as excellent as Shannon in able to turn in an all-out excellent performance, but for what he's given to do, Shannon carries the film about as much as anyone, although that's not to say that there isn't enough conviction in most every other area of this film to bring the final product close to a rewarding point, even if it could have carried things further. Once the Iceman has cometh and gone, the film is left so watered down by underdevelopment, repetitious, if not unfocused dragging, conventions and a certain limitation to storytelling inspiration that the final product collapses just shy of rewarding, but on the backs of solid score work, outstanding cinematography and an intriguing story that is done a fair amount of justice by decent writing and direction and strong acting, - particularly by leading man Michael Shannon - Ariel Vromen's "The Iceman" comes close enough to a rewarding point to compel adequately, in spite of shortcomings. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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