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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - September, 2013

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 "The Iceman" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-september-2013-the-iceman

Synopsis

This movie is based on the true story of Richard Kuklinski, a contract killer and strongman for the DeCavalcante crime family of Newark as well as other crime families from the New York area.  Nobody knows exactly how many people Kuklinski murdered in his lifetime and the estimates range between 100 and 250!  This movie spans the Iceman's career from his first contract killings in the 1960's up to his eventual arrest in 1986.  During this period, he juggles his assasination job with his family life so effectively that his wife and kids didn't even know what he did for a living.   

 

Specifications

  • Millennium Entertainment
  • 2012, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 45 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
  • Starring: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco, Ray Liotta and Chris Evans
  • Directed by: Ariel Vromen
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

I was not vey familiar with Kulkinski before watching this movie.  The movie stimulated my interest and so I have read up on him.  He came from an abusive family - one of his brothers actually died due to injuries he suffered from a beating at the hands of their father.  This upbringing made Kulkinski a monster who killed not only for a living, he killed for the thrill (and for "practice") as well.  He even claimed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa.  Michael Shannon does a very remarkable acting job in portraying this troubled and complex character.  Kulkinski's wife, Deborah, is deftly played by Winona Ryder.  She plays it soft and gentle so you fear for her in every scene with Shannon, even when he isn't acting crazy.  This movie has an intense and unseamly vibe throughout which keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I just wished for more character development, more of a back story and a more thorough narrative of the events at hand.

Technical

The image quality of this dark and intense film has been tweaked to fit the tone the director intended.  This means that the picture is dark and somewhat colorless.  There is some grain in the image as well.  The 1080p transfer is faithful to this objective.  Blacks are solid but the image on the whole doesn't pop because the dynamic range is subdued.  

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD which is becoming rare these days.  The music, dialog and action effects are all clean and balanced with a good, realistically immersive 5.1 sound field. 

Extras

This is a single disc package with two notable Special Features - The Making of "The Iceman" and "The Iceman" Behind the Scenes.  These are decent length, entertaining features that are sadly mastered in SD.