out of Five
Running time: 88
Enjoyable thriller with a dark sense of humour and strong comic performances from Cusack, Thornton and Platt.
What’s it all about?
Based on the novel by Scott Phillips, The Ice Harvest is set in Wichita Falls on Christmas Eve and stars John Cusack as mob lawyer Charlie Arglist, who has just completed the successful embezzlement of $2.1 million from corpulent Kansas City mob boss Bill Guerrard (Randy Quaid).
However, Charlie doesn’t quite trust his partner in crime, the sleazily duplicitous Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton) and on top of that, he also has to chaperone his drunken best friend (Oliver Platt), who just happens to be married to Charlie’s ex-wife (Justine Bentley).
There’s an enjoyably pulpy vibe to The Ice Harvest, aided considerably by the performance of a flame-haired, throaty-voiced Connie Nielsen who vamps it up like a 1940s femme fatale. In addition, Cusack and Thornton (reunited after Pushing Tin) capitalise on their immensely watchable screen partnership. There’s also strong comic support from accomplished scene-stealer Oliver Platt, as well as a memorably menacing appearance from Randy Quaid.
Ramis struggles with the tone of the film. The frequent, lingering shots of half-naked strippers seem out of place, whilst the violence is surprisingly nasty in places. Similarly, some of the gags fall flat and Platt’s character is so obnoxious that his friendship with Charlie doesn’t ring true.
The Ice Harvest isn’t without flaws, but it’s entertaining enough as a blackly comic thriller. Worth seeing.
The Ice Harvest (15)