FILM: The Iceman (15)

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A thug rises through the ranks of the criminal fraternity in Ariel Vromen’s taut thriller, based on the exploits of headline-grabbing mob contract killer Richard Kuklinski.

In the film, Michael Shannon assumes the lead role of Kuklinski, who is imprisoned in 1986 for murder.

In flashback, we meet Richard in his early days as an underling for sadistic mob boss Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta).

When Richard’s particular branch of the operation is shut down, Roy employs him as a bodyguard to dole out beatings to anyone who dares to cross DeMeo. Richard shows an aptitude for mindless violence and becomes an invaluable cog in the underworld machine.

Meanwhile, Richard romances and eventually weds Deborah Pellicotti (Winona Ryder), who is clueless about her husband’s illegal activities, and he attempts to keep his day job secret from his brother Joey (Stephen Dorff).

James Franco, Chris Evans and David Schwimmer co-star.