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03 Sep 2013

Now on Blu-Ray: An Off-Putting Score Lessens the Impact of Michael Shannon and 'The Iceman'

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Michael Shannon is his usual terrific self as Richard Kuklinski, aka The Iceman, one of the most notorious killers in American history. During his run, Kuklinski killed as many as 250 people as a solo assassin and mob hitman.

The Iceman director and co-writer Ariel Vromen has made an impressive-looking movie, and he stocked it with good people, including Winona Ryder as Kuklinski’s wife, who allegedly didn’t know about her husband’s deadly ways until the day of his arrest. Chris Evans (Captain America!) is great as Mr. Freezy, a murderous accomplice who shows Kuklinski how to murder with cyanide.

Ray Liotta reminds viewers that he is one of cinema’s great bad-asses as real-life crime figure Roy Demeo, who initiated Kuklinski into his gang by having him murder a random, innocent man. Yes, that’s David Schwimmer of Friends fame playing a long-haired, mustachioed Demeo henchman.

The film looks great; the subject matter is captivating; and Shannon brings a true menace to the role. However, it does feel a bit mundane and formulaic at times. Much of this can be attributed to a weak, generic musical score by Haim Mazar. He adds a level of melodrama that seems out of place, deadening dramatic moments rather than heightening them.

Considering the the work Shannon does here, it’s a shame the picture doesn’t totally come together. I’m convinced a reworked music soundtrack (or heck, even deleting the soundtrack) would make this a more-powerful viewing experience.

The real-life Kuklinski died seven years ago in prison after a series of infamous interviews that ran on HBO.

Special Features: You get a couple of behind-the-scenes featurettes—and little more. The film is slated for Blu-Ray release on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

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