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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 April 2014
Whoa! What a horrible film! Not horrible as in badly made but as in with the gruesome content. Very grim. And no happy ending either. Boo! However it does feature an almost unrecognisable actor and I appreciated what happened to him. Also Ray Liotta looks good here. Plus Robert Davi has a role too. And James Franco briefly appears too.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 21 October 2013
This purports to be the real story of Richard Kuklinski who was reported to have been the mob's most prolific hit man; he is supposed to have killed between 100 and 250 persons. He started life working as a technician in a porn production company. Then after he is seen to have nerves of steel is offered a career change of becoming a ruthless hit man; the pay is way better but the hours are a bit irregular.

Meantime he has started a family with his doting wife; she is all apple pie and played with remarkable deftness by Winona Ryder. His family all claimed to have not had a clue about his real life choosing to believe his cover story that he worked in currency exchange. The mob boss who gets him in is Ray Liotta playing Roy Demeo. We also have a pony tailed David Schwimmer playing parasitical adopted son to Liotta with a penchant for bad sports clothes, nose candy and ostentatious use of hand guns.

Once Kuklinski makes a mistake he has to go `independent' and teams up with Mr Freezy aka Robert Prongay (Chris Evans). He teaches him about poison and a whole range of interesting ways to `off' anyone they have to. He also introduces him to the freezer technique. Once a body has been frozen and defrosted it is impossible to work out forensically at what time death occurred. It helps if they are dismembered too apparently.

This has excellent period detail with a brilliant if sparse sound track (`Blondie' and `E.L.O.' to name but two). The acting is excellent Michael Shannon cast as Kuklinski is mesmerising and has genuine on screen scary moments when he is dealing with Liotta. There is violence there is gore and there is profanity but that is essentially why we watch this type of film. It is one that will stay with you and maybe make you rethink the abilities of some of the actors here; really a ruddy brilliant piece of film making.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 September 2013
This movie charts the real life story of contract-killer Richard ''Iceman'' Kuklinski. Although his own personal criminal escapades of murder started years prior, here, it picks up in his life in 1964, Newark USA. Where he is a pornography film lab tech, starting a relationship with his soon to be wife (Ryder), and garnishing interest from local wise guys (Liotta) , the bosses of his establishment, due to his lack of emotion or ice cold appearance in the face of danger, being a good trait for his future line of work. Eventually slowly charting his rise as a Mafia hitman & fall due to events around him, those his killer urges needed quenching & loose ends he needed to cut.

We found the film totally engaging all the way through, the production values, directing & especially the acting was some of the best consistently we have seen in a long while. Micheal Shannon (Man of Steel) epitomized this with his portrayal of Kuklinski, he was mesmerizing to watch in every scene, as an on the surface average guy who is really an emotionless killer. Whose soft spot is the protection of his family at all costs (albeit not from himself), who have no idea what he really does for a living. Having seen him in a few films now, playing odd, quirky characters, he is currently at the top of his game. In support his co-stars seemed to be trying to reach the bar Shannon set, and as a result we see some great & classic performances from Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands), Chris Evans (Captain America), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) , David Schwimmer (Friends ), James Franco (Oz), Stephen Dorff (Immortals) & Robert Davi (The Goonies ).

The story itself is told through key moments of his life, as it gradually skips ahead in time through the 60's, 70's & 80's, which are all excellently authentically recreated in costume, props & cars etc..... While Kuklinksi's childhood is told in flashbacks & a brief meeting with his imprisoned brother Joey (Dorff). Being critical, it did lack some pace here & there as they try to cram as much detail in, no matter how small. And due to the writing & period of his life they did make him a little too easy to sympathize with regarding not killing the young girl & protecting his family from Mafia threats etc... rather then the truly vile & evil person he was. But none the less they certainly made it flow as entertainingly as possible while balancing the facts in, as a whole.

Skimming through his real life story & watching the HBO interview with Kuklinski (Youtube) after seeing the film, it's interesting to compare how the film sync's up with the facts. And albeit misses the mark on a few minor things, such as his 'Iceman' nickname coming from his modus operandi to freeze bodies to disguise they're time of death, rather than his emotionally cold persona, or his first mafia hit on a guy walking his dog rather then a homeless man for example. While in other places the feeding of poison to a cat was a relevant nod to his torturing of animals as a boy, his excessive use of cologne to put under his nose to mask the smell of bodies as he cuts them up, and his wide range of varied weapons & interests in new methods to kill people. But still they portrayed it pretty well overall, appreciating that the films story has to encapsulate a lot in Richard Kuklinski's life & persona in a way to keep us entertained as well.

In conclusion, as true stories go, it's closer to the truth than most achieve. We were glued to the screen throughout this chilling tale, made all the more surreal with it's contrast of horror with nonchalant contract killings/mutilation & loving, unsuspecting family life. Micheal Shannon is outstanding. Recommended.
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on 2 March 2014
not that amazing did not lift me to the hippie that was put out there for all to see I should of waited till it was run on sky and never bought the DVD big mistake
Good Fellows is and always will be the best Mafia movie since the Godfather part 1 and 2
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on 25 January 2014
I finished reading the book then watched the movie that night. Maybe that was my mistake as the film doesn't paint Richard Kuklinski to be half as horrendous as the book I read claimed he was. Bought disc, watched it, got angry for 30 seconds and put up for sale the same night. To be fair any film I've read the book from has been disappointing but this was very disappointing .
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on 24 October 2013
'The Iceman' is a crime thriller film based on Anthony Bruno's book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer and on the life of the real-life hit-man, Richard Kuklinski. The film had a limited theatrical release in 2013. The critical reception was mixed and the movie flopped at the box-office.

The movie centers around Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon), a ruthless hit-man who works with the mafia and at the same time maintains a life of a family man.

The premise is rather predictable and not gripping enough even though the story is interesting. The film only works because of Michael Shannon's fiery performance that kept me watching. The addition of violence is also attention grabbing at times. The ending is a bit flat, was expecting more.

Michael Shannon is an actor on the rise, he's fortunate to get this opportunity to showcase his immense talent. It was a joy to watch Shannon be cool as ice in one scene and then flip for another. I didn't like Ray Liotta's overacting as Roy DeMeo. There are notable cameos from Chris Evans, James Franco and David Schwimmer. All portray low-life characters that do leave a mark, especially Schwimmer who I didn't recognize initially. Winona Ryder plays Kuklinski's wife. There's nothing special about her role.

Ariel Vromen's direction is basic when speaking about the plot, just average. However, he does get a solid performance from Shannon.

Michael Shannon is chilling as 'The Iceman'.
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The Iceman is the true story of Richard Kuklinski (played by Michael Shannon - Take Shelter) and based on the book of the same name. It details the meteoric rise and fall of Kuklinski's career working for the Mafia.

Starting in 1965, this is a beautifully styled affair, with the clothes the cars and the music to match the New-Jersey based era perfectly. When some Mafiosos knock-off the 'movie' production company Richie is working in, Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta Goodfellas notices how Richard does not flinch or even sweat with a gun to his head - 'Jesus, this guy is ice-cold' is his observation. Thinking he could use a big guy who is cool under pressure, Roy recruits Richie and soon he is offing people left, right and centre to further Roy's business interests.

With all the money it brings, soon enough Richie starts a family with his wife Deborah (Winona Ryder Black Swan) and moves on in the world. When he meets fellow contract-killer Richard Pronge (played by Chris Evans - Captain America) on a job, the two go in to business together, freezing their bodies to throw the cops off of when and where they were killed - earning him the moniker 'The Iceman' - but with Roy stepping on some toes, can The Iceman's career continue?

The Iceman is an incredibly well shot experience - credit to newcomer director Ariel Vromen and hinges almost entirely on Michael Shannon's excellent performance, sometimes you can almost physically feel the malice in one of his stares. Chris Evans provides some nearly-unrecognisable comic relief as the psychotic business partner - the real achievement here is the 'feel' of the film, it feels like it was filmed a long time ago, rather than present-day. When all of this is wrapped up in a chilling deconstruction of serial killer who was so well measured that not even his family knew the truth, it makes for one excellent mob-film. Highly recommended for Shannon's chilling performance alone.
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on 29 July 2014
wow.....brilliantly acted film
Michael Shannon I think makes the film, taking on the role of Richard Kuklinski (true-life hit man) He, as in Shannon, truly is excellent in this role, going from cool hitman to being a loving husband & father.
Loved Ray Liotta but then I'm biased as to his work anyway......loads of other actors to involved some making you really chuckle - sorry David Schwimmer, but the tracksuit & pony-tail just had me in fits, especially with the squeaky, simpering voice, and watching Rovert Davi (Agent Johnson from Die Hard) just made me think of 'no not him the other one'
watch it if you dare......
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on 19 November 2014
The crime biopic is no new thing, but they keep coming out because they remain interesting to watch. What drives someone like Richard Kuklinski aka `The Iceman', a seemingly morally repugnant man who killed many people for the Mafia, but managed to keep his life as an assassin from his wife and children. This is a classic Mafia style film set up in the style of `Donnie Brasco' or `Goodfellas', but `Iceman' never manages to reach these heights.

Michael Shannon as Kuklinski is excellent; a cold hearted killer. However, with no warmth, comes little ability to care about the character's situation. Shannon plays the part very deadpan, perhaps a little too much at times. Having seen him in other films, his portrayal may be his acting style as much as in keeping with the character. You can easily believe Shannon as a killer and the relationship he has with his brother is messed up, but helps you understand why he became the man he did. Less believable is his relationship with his wife; he is so aloof that it is hard to understand why they stayed together.

As well as a few niggling issues with the relationships in the film, there is also a lack of budget that makes it to the screen on occasion. Director Ariel Vromen has done a good job on what seems to be a limited budget, but does not provide a sense of danger or time passing that the film could have done with. Although Shannon is more than ably supported by the likes of Ray Liotta, Luke Evans and David Schwimmer, there is little you can do with such a closed character. The similarly low budget `Kill the Irishman' has a more charismatic character at the centre that draws you in. With `The Iceman' you get a quality film, but you feel a little cold watching it.

With its slightly lower budget and 70s feel, the film does not really need to be seen on BluRay. Extras proved pretty light on the version I saw with only a short making of and some interviews. A more in depth look at the real Kuklinski would have been interesting.
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on 19 April 2014
Do yourself a favour and read the book. So much of the book has been left out especially the really nasty bits. If you are interested in Richard's life as a hit man, read the book and watch the man himself in an hour long interview, whilst in prison, just before his mysterious death, which is up on youtube .
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