“The Iceman” is the terrifying story of one of the most notorious hitmen in America. Over four decades Ritchie Kuklinsky ( played by Michael Shannon ) has killed over 100 people. In the same time he had a normal family life. Neither his wife (played by Winona Ryder) nor his two daughters were aware of his multiple murders. The assassin’s nickname comes from his habit of freezing the bodies of his victims in order for the police to have a hard time determining the time of death. Although it is a classic mobster story the movie fails to deliver emotional intensity. Rather than being a complex story, it is just a description of the hitman’s life.
The story starts in the 60s when the main character first meets his wife to be. On the first date he appears to be a simple and rather shy guy. However his calm appearance hides a violent temper. One might wonder how his violence will affect the rest of his life. As the story unravels we discover that killing is just a job for this man. Clearly he finds pleasure in his violent acts but then again a lot of people love their jobs. At the end of the day he comes home to a loving wife and two darling daughters.
Richie Kuklinski starts by working in the porn industry. His cruel personality is soon noticed by local mobster Roy Demeo (played by Ray Liotta) who offers him a job as a hitman. Soon enough the body count starts. As the story advances the audience might be waiting for a certain transformation in the main character’s personality. However this does not happen. Kuklinski is nothing more than a cold blooded criminal. He has no remorse and no plans of changing his habits despite the fact that he is living a double life. The fact that he loves his family is not meant to appeal to our sensitive side. On the contrary the movie lacks emotional content. The only intensity in “The Iceman” is generated by Shannon’ s evil demeanor. Although he is familiar with these type of characters the actor manages to approach the role in a fresh manner.
“The Iceman” is a cruel portrait of a stone heart criminal. This man has no problem hiding his violent personality from his family and he doesn’t feel any sort of remorse for his crimes. All that he is interested in is getting paid for his jobs. He feels no mercy towards his victims as if he lacks any trace of humanity. However when he comes home he acts as a loving husband.