Have You Rented...THE ICE HARVEST

The hardest thing to get absolutely right in any film is tone. THE ICE HARVEST has a very tricky tone, impossible to describe in a trailer. (The one for this film is so bad it’s off-putting). Based on the book by Scott Phillips and masterfully adapted by Robert Benton and Richard Russo the film is an unpredictable crime drama laced with dark comedy.

I could never figure out exactly where it was going or how I was supposed to feel about the characters. But it gripped me one scene at a time, never stepping wrong. The direction by Harold Ramis is so spot-on, that I’m in disbelief that he actually made the picture. I haven’t seen a director reinvent himself like this since Curtis Hanson and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.
The film stars John Cusack, who normally doesn’t do much for me. Having outgrown playing idealistic intellectuals, Cusack normally seems bored in whatever project he’s lowered himself to play. This is possibly his best work as an adult, think HIGH FEDILITY but darker, more mature and more invested in the character.
There’s excellent support from Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen, and a couple of surprise players, but I don’t want to hint at the size or importance of their roles in the film. I do want to mention Oliver Platt as Cusack’s buddy, who is drunk the entire night the story unfolds. No easy task, Platt plays different levels of drunk and walks a delicate line between funny, obnoxious, sad and profound.
This film was a box office disaster, and I understand why. I didn’t care for TIN MEN and wasn’t anxious for a re-teaming of its stars. Plus the film just looked weak and not funny. Now with DVD you have a second chance, just like I did. THE ICE HARVEST is a terrific surprise and would land in my Top 20 movies of 2005 at #18.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cusack and Thornton starred in PUSHING TIN, not TIN MEN.

8:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home