‘The Iceman’ had it in his blood. He often used a gun with silencer or a mini revolver but he was not picky individual, he was able to kill using, literally, anything that came to hand. His name was Richard Kuklinski. In almost 40 years he assassinated over 100 people, however, in his confession, he admitted to killing over 250 people. Most of which where ordered by the Mafia boss, Roya DeMeo. Richard’s nickname wasn’t randomly given, on the contrary, Kuklinski was the pioneer of a new method of desposing of human corpse. He simply chopped their bodies, put them in fail bags and froze them so that the police were unable to establish the time of death. Obviously Kuklinski wouldn’t have been able to manage his ‘business’ on his own so he decided to get himself a partner, Robert Pronge aka Mr Freezy, a happy ice-cream man during the day and a crook after working hours. According to books and other sources Kuklinski wasn’t only a cold blooded murderer he was also a family man, and a question arose: Is it possible for a human being to be cruel on one side and be generous on the other?

A combined picture of a classic gangster film and a typical biopic, Ariel Vromen’s film tells the story of this person: Robert Kuklinski. In this motion picture we see him as a secondary distributor of adult films run by one of the local mafioso. A small misunderstanding ‘at the office’ causes troubles between Kuklinski and the gangster DeMeo. Richard is forced to leave the business and is immediately taken under the wings of DeMeo, as a private hitman. This is the time when Richard starts his ‘big clean up of the world’. Kuklinski constantly teetering on the verge of morality. However, he only kills scums worst than him, his code of honour doesn’t allow him to kill women and children.

In Vromer’s view, the killer is an ‘okay’ guy with a complicated curriculum vitae and messy childhood. Superficial insight into Kuklinski’s complex psychology would have never worked out well if it wasn’t for the superb Michael Shannon ( Man of Steel, Take Shelter). His absent gaze, specific walk and bulky silhouette denies the cliche, from which the director tried to build his protagonist. Shannon’s role definitely overshadows Ray Liotta (DeMeo), Chris Evans (Robert Pronge) and, slightly lost on screen, Winona Ryder (Deborah Kuklinski). It seems like Michael Shannon’s portrayal of Kuklinski may bring him yet another Oscar nomination. ‘The Iceman’ is a gripping and mesmerizing film, and without question worth seeing.

Written by Maggie Gogler.

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