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Starring
John Cusack
as Charlie Arglist

Billy Bob Thornton
as Vic Cavanaugh

Connie Nielsen
as Renata

Randy Quaid
as Bill Guerrard

Oliver Platt
as Pete Van Heuten

Written by Richard Russo & Robert Benton

Directed by Harold Ramis

Running Time: 1:28

Rated R
for violence, language and sexuality/nudity.

B-


THE OPENING

The Ice Harvest was one of those movies that takes a little time to sink in before you realize that you're enjoying what you're watching.

THE STORY

Charlie and Vic are a lawyer and porn proprietor respectively. They team up to steal money from mob boss Bill but while they think they're running the perfect crime, not everything works out in their favor. Charlie is nervous someone is going to catch them, Vic may be plotting to kill Charlie, and then there's Renata who may have the key to the whole thing. Charlie has to deal with a lot of different people that night that could screw everything up, but in the end, manages to somehow survive. That can not be said for everyone.

THE REVIEW

The Ice Harvest wasn't a great movie, but it was a fun one, mainly because I really love John Cusack. He generally plays the same character in most of his movies, but he's got a real quirky way of speaking and making sarcastic remarks that I enjoy. If it had been anyone else in the starring role of Charlie, I probably wouldn't have liked the movie as much. That being said, the plot was a bit wacky. No explanation is ever given as to how these bumbling idiots managed to steal money from a gangster. The movie just starts with the theft, then Charlie and Vic go their separate ways. Charlie then has an odd night where he has to deal with his ex-wife, her new husband, who also happens to be friends with Charlie, people trying to kill him, a girl he's in love with, and a cop that randomly shows up from time to time. The theft of the money doesn't really play much of a role for most of the film. It's just something that happened and is hanging over Charlie's head. Soon, however, secrets are revealed and truths come out and that's when the blood starts to fly. And I mean, fly.

For a dark comedy, there is a ton of violence. People getting shot left and right, sometimes in extremely brutal ways. Appendages getting chopped off, people getting thrown into frozen lakes, poisoned, stabbed, run over by cars. If you have a sick and twisted sense of humor, like I do, the more violence the better. Sometimes it seems so absurd you can't help but laugh. If you don't like that kind of unnecessary violence, then there's a good chance this movie isn't for you. If you love John Cusack or Billy Bob Thornton, then you'll definitely want to rent this movie because they play characters that are right in their wheelhouse. There's also a great bonus extra where Billy Bob does one scene as his character from Sling Blade, which might be the funniest part of the movie -- even though it wasn't actually in the movie. The rest of the bonus features are what you might expect from a DVD, although the alternate endings seemed unnecessary to me. They might be more in tune with the rest of the film, but they don't add anything really new to the movie as a whole.

THE BOTTOM LINE

So overall, I liked The Ice Harvest. It wasn't the greatest film ever, but for a dark comedy, it was dark and violent and absurd. I'm a huge fan of John Cusack and this role is the kind of role he excels at, which made the movie that much better for me.

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reviewed 03/21/06

© 2006 Wolfpack Productions

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