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The Iceman Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Murder most chill. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    Ultimately The Iceman is a blend of Mafia-film cliché and the jarring reality of lives undone by crime.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Ultimately, this is a grim (both visually and thematically) character study of an unsympathetic character, leaving Shannon, who manages to deliver another impressive performance, twisting in the ice-cold wind.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Shannon's restrained and mesmerizing portrayal, bolstered by an excellent offbeat supporting cast, makes for an edgy and compelling Mob yarn.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    It's an unsettling piece that reminds us how even monsters aspire to living the American dream.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    So it's a bit squishy at the center. But the film is sleek, purposeful and extremely well acted.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney

    The Iceman is a vivid evocation of a remorseless sociopath sustaining a double life as a contract killer and devoted family man. Gritty, gripping and unrelentingly intense, Ariel Vromen’s film boasts richly detailed character work from an ideal cast.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 17 & under

Extremely violent portrait of unrepentant real-life killer.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Iceman is based on real-life contract killer Richard Kuklinski, who raised a family that knew nothing about what he did for a living. Expect very strong violence, mostly around Kuklinski's killings, which involve both shooting and stabbing/slicing. Some blood is shown, but even more disturbing are the scenes in which he freezes and then chops up his victims. Language is also extremely strong, with many uses of "f--k" and lots of other words. There's one semi-explicit sex scene and many references to porn movies, with some brief clips shown and audio heard. Drug deals are shown (with a supporting character testing some cocaine), and characters sometimes drink in a background way. The movie's strong, depressing subject matter won't make it a much of a draw for teens.

  • Families can talk about The Iceman's violence. How much violence is necessary to illustrate just who Richard Kuklinski was?
  • Are the members of Richie's family role models, or are they victims? How did you feel about them?
  • What is it about Richie that made him so "icy"? How was he able to lie so easily to his family? Did it appear that he loved them? Is he a sympathetic character in any way?
  • What's the appeal of biopics, stories about real people? Does the subject of a biopic have to be an admirable person for it to succeed?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A man spends his life killing and performing acts of violence, reaping great financial rewards and lying to his family. In the end, he pays for his crimes, but he claims that he doesn't regret anything -- except hurting his family. There's a good deal of cultural stereotyping around the main character's Polish ancestry.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The main character is a contract killer, named "The Iceman" because of his apparent heartlessness. He's able to kill easily without any moral conundrum, and even when he's caught and pays for his crimes, he claims not to regret any of the murders he committed. Most of the other characters in the movie are likewise either underworld types or victims.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: The main character (who's based on a real person) is a contract killer working for mobsters. He brutally, coldly stabs, slices, strangles, and shoots several characters on screen, and the movie tells us that the real person may have killed more than 100 people. Other characters are also killers; there are many corpses and lots of blood spatters. In a couple of gruesome scenes, two professional killers freeze and chop up their victims to make them harder to identify. There are also a few hand-to-hand fights. Teen girls are in jeopardy in a few scenes.

  • sex false3

    Sex: The main character has sex with his wife. No nudity is shown -- they're both in bed under the covers -- but the scene still feels somewhat explicit. As the movie starts, the main character works in a warehouse dubbing porn movies. Viewers see a couple of brief porn clips, including one in which half a breast is visible (the rest is just unidentifiable flesh). The audio is more graphic than the visuals (moans and groans). A minor character films a sexy movie in his apartment (nothing shown). A teen girl is suggested to be naked, though she's well-covered. Also some innuendo from time to time.

  • language false3

    Language: "F--k" is used most frequently, and very often; "s--t," "c--t," "c--ksucker," "a--hole," "bitch," "jerk off," "d--k," "balls," "ass," and "goddamn" are also used.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: One shot of Times Square includes Sony and Coca-Cola signs.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Drug deals are a part of the film's world. One particular scene shows a drug deal in progress, with one of the supporting characters testing a batch of cocaine. Adults generally drink wine with dinner or drink whiskey in a background way, and secondary characters smoke cigarettes.