Good subject, but fumbles in a screenplay that slips into melodrama with a 'family man' element, diluting the insight and coldness of the real-life hitman who was a sociopath. Director Ariel Vromen gives much more verve and finesse in his directing than the narrative that often feels repetitive and heavy-handed, while Shannon fits the role well, even if it's his traditional typecast bit. Iceman is shiny genericism.
It's an alright story, it's just so similar to every other 70's-era organized crime film and nothing separates it from the pack except that it teaches you a piece of actual, but insignificant, history. Michael Shannon does a fine job, but the role didn't challenge him much since I've never seen that guy not have an ice cold demeanor. Chris Evans' small role is amazing, and is the only reason I'd recommend it.
"When the movies abandoned the moral context in which they once represented crime and criminals — even when the morality was inverted for political reasons and the bad guys became good guys and the good guys bad — they found that they had nothing to put in its place but a kind of voyeurism." -James Bowman.
Michael Shannon's performance as Richard Kuklinski, wonderful and loving father as well as vicious, unfeeling stone cold killer, is reason enough to see Vromen's derivative genre film. Shannon's gift for getting under the skin of his characters shines here with an intense portrayal of a conflicted man trying to balance his love of family with his lack of empathy for anything else. Ryder and Liotta well cast.
James Franco getting smacked around should be reason enough to see any film, but this is worthless even in spite of that. Scenes are stitched together, not edited, the visuals are misty, partly because the cinematographer mistakes retro with under lit and Winona Ryder is miscast as basically a prettier version of Soprano wife. And as for Shannon, if you need this to realize he's a good actor....
You'd think this one would be pretty solid since the source material is fascinating and Michael Shannon does creepy/weird very well, but this one is pretty boring. It's obvious that the movie covers at least 10-20 years, but the time jumps are edited in a way that the shifts could've been 2 years or 2 months.