The Iceman ★★★
The towering presence of Michael Shannon as New Jersey hitman Richard Kuklinski gives this fairly average true-crime biopic a backbone of steel. A prolific killer for the powerful Gambino family, Kuklinski was known as the Iceman for his modus operandi, which involved freezing and storing the bodies of his victims to obscure the date and time of death. It sounds like a traditional Mob movie premise, but the selling point here is that he led a double life, hiding his sordid secret from his wife (Winona Ryder) and family right up until his arrest in 1986. Given the period setting, there are a lot of wigs and outrageous fashions to distract attention from the relatively pedestrian storytelling, but visually, this is nothing new, despite several stylish flourishes – including a hit carried out using a spiked drink in a packed nightclub. What makes it at all special is Shannon, who’s terrific playing the human being behind the murderer, a man so psychopathic that he doesn’t realise he’s actually a monster posing as a man.
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