Based on the novel by Scott Phillips, THE ICE HARVEST is a comic film noir set in very cold and icy Wichita, Kansas. John Cusack turns in another fine performance as Charlie Arglist, a soft-spoken lawyer who works for local mob boss Bill Guerrard (Randy Quaid). Charlie hangs out in strip clubs, pines after femme fatale Renata (Connie Nielsen), rarely sees his kids, and basically watches life happen all around him. Ready for a change, he and the much more hardened Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton) steal $2.1 million from Guerrard and plan to play it cool before leaving town, trying not to create suspicion. All they need to do is make it through Christmas Eve--but that's not going to be easy for Charlie, who spends the long night getting caught up in a series of very funny, very dangerous, and very bloody events that unfold while sweet Christmas carols echo in the background. Reminiscent of such stylish modern noirs as RED ROCK WEST and FARGO, THE ICE HARVEST features a clever script by Oscar-winner Robert Benton and Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo, and was directed by Harold Ramis, the former SCTV star and Ghostbuster who has helmed such successful films as CADDYSHACK, GROUNDHOG DAY, and ANALYZE THIS. The acting is uniformly excellent--including Mike Starr as hit man Roy Gelles, who never shows his face--but Oliver Platt runs away with the film as Pete Van Heuten, an old friend of Charlie's who stole his family and now is an obnoxious, hysterical, pathetic drunken fool with a good heart.
- Edition: Widescreen
- Number of Discs: 1
- Rating: R (MPAA)
- Film Country: USA
- UPC: 025192629624
"[A]n acerbic, unpretentious black-comedy thriller, directed by Harold Ramis with mature glee, and written by Richard Russo and Robert Benton with grown-up literacy..." -- Grade: A-
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum (12/02/2005)
4 stars out of 5 -- "THE ICE HARVEST is a modest movie, but worth savouring for its throwaway wit and bruised, rueful cynicism."
Uncut - Tom Charity (03/01/2006)
"[Thornton] is as adept as ever at deadpan heartlessness....The most subversive element in the movie is the way Ramis and co. allow moments of real poignancy to occasionally pierce the film's veneer of studied cynicism."
Sight and Sound - Leslie Felperin (03/01/2006)