Michael Shannon puts on an acting clinic in The Iceman, just released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The man who made us forget all about Terence Stamp as General Zod, months prior to the release of Man of Steel, made it frightening folly to play evil as the real life New Jersey hit man for the mob in The Iceman. The moniker was the nickname given to the man who murdered hundreds of people over two decades all in the name of gangster justice.
During those 20 years, Shannon’s Richard Kuklinski was a happily married man to a woman (played by Winona Ryder) who had no idea what he really did with his days. The father of two daughters was also a doting paternal figure and his neighbors and friends were shocked when he was arrested and it was revealed the horrors he had incurred.
As previewed in The Iceman trailer, the film is not your usual mob story. They exist almost on the periphery of Ariel Vromen’s film. This tale is all about the man who did their dirty work.
We meet Kuklinski as an aimless man who is almost dared to kill a homeless man by gangster Ray Liotta. Seeing how easily he took to the effort, Liotta’s mobster knows he has his guy. Their relationship would be quite profitable for both over the years… that is until the police finally got close.
Michael Shannon deserves an Oscar nomination for his uncanny and chilling portrayal. Whether the Academy will remember him come voting time, we doubt… but it will be a crime. It is a rare moment on screen when a persona and a character meet in such an explosive manner and in The Iceman that is Shannon and Kuklinski.
The DVD and Blu-Ray bonus features are sparse, there are only two. But each is as fascinating as they are compelling.
The Making of The Iceman featurette shows the incredible effort it took for the filmmaking team to capture not only another era, but to humanize a man who was ruthless in his own treatment of the sanctity of life.
The Iceman Behind the Scenes documentary sheds light on exactly how Shannon became such a ruthless killer without losing his own sanity or drifting into those dark areas that can challenge any man. What also is nice is it shows how Vromen kept his set serious to reflect the nature of the material, but also light so that when it came time for him to call “action” the scenes were dripping with the riveting potential the subject matter warranted.
The Iceman DVD and Blu-Ray is a must-own for film fans. If for no other reason than to witness Shannon’s portrayal over and over as the years go by as an impeccable example of how acting is done at its highest level.