Iceman, The (2013): Michael Shannon Overwhelms Crime Tale of Serial Killer

Inspired by actual events, The Iceman, poorly directed by Ariel Vromen, follows notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of between 100 and 200 men.

Well cast, the brilliant character Michael Shannon gives a scary performance that dominates (actually overwhelms) every scene he is in.

A monstrous family man? A beast within an ordinary guy?  Kuklinski is meant to be a tormented soul, caged in own prison.

On the surface, he is living the American dream as a devoted husband and father, but in reality Kuklinski was a ruthless hitman, a coldblooded killer-for-hire.

Title cards indicate the time and place of the killings.  The story begins on April 29, 1964, in New Jersey, and covers several episodes in detail, such as the one on the Lower East Side, on February 13, 1976.

When finally arrested in 1986, both his wife (Winona Ryder) and daughters are clueless about his real profession.

But as powerful an actor as Shannon is, he cannot overcome the shortcomings in the writing and helming. Ultimately, Kuklinski comes across as a simplistic,

two-dimensional character, lacking depth or complexity.
As the body count mounts, the tale, co-written by Vromen and Morgan Land, begins to spin out of control and its focus starts melting down.

The subject is never less than fascination, but the treatment leaves much to be desired.