The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer believed to have murdered over a hundred people while maintaining a seemingly normal life with his wife and children.
If the narrow biographical focus of “The Iceman” prevents it from being a great crime movie, on its own more modest terms it is an indelible film that clinches Mr. Shannon’s status as a major screen actor.
The film is anchored by a searing, incredibly intense performance by Michael Shannon, whose remorselessness as a hit man is as relentless as Shannon’s portrayal of him.
Because the sociopath at the center of this family portrait never asks for forgiveness, The Iceman is truly chilling.
The problem might actually be (gasp) Michael Shannon himself — shocking, because he’s one of our greatest actors — who is only half-right for this film’s portrait of Kuklinski.
Alternating scenes of the psycho-as-family-man with an increasingly grisly and desperate series of hits, it makes for a surprisingly monotonous sit for a movie that also features a killer named Mr. Freezy.
The overall effect tends to be as chilly and monotonous as Shannon’s demeanor as Kuklinski — a real disappointment.
Michael Shannon has no interior to play with, since the film seems intent on ridding Richie of any emotion other than love for his family, and also no catharsis to build toward.