Film review: The Iceman is a case study in schizoid behaviour


Michael Shannon stars in the true story of Richard Kuklinski, who unbeknownst to family and friends was one of the most prolific contract killers of his day.

The title refers to Kuklinski's legendary sangfroid, and Shannon's brooding, level gaze never falters, even when facing the wrong end of a gun barrel. Winona Ryder plays his unsuspecting wife, apparently convinced that her husband's wealth came from currency trading.

The era (1960s to 1980s), the setting (New Jersey) and the presence of Ray Liotta as a middle-league mobster can't help but bring GoodFellas to mind, though Scorsese's operatic verve and sense of humour have no place in a monotonous script by director Ariel Vromen and co-writer Morgan Land.

The Iceman is a case study in schizoid behaviour – Kuklinski is either being a top family guy or else murdering people – and a great movie for bad moustaches: David Schwimmer as a mob foot soldier, Stephen Dorff as Kuklinski's jailbird brother, and Shannon himself all sport facial hair of a wholly unacceptable nature.