The Ice Harvest (Widescreen Edition)
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John Cusack plays an everyman, a lawyer who has sold out to the values of corporate corruption. With mixed feelings, he steals over two million dollars from the local mob on Christmas Eve, then plans with Billy Bob Thornton to make a break for it later on Christmas Day.
The mob boss (Randy Quaid) finds out and sends a hit man to get his money back, and the movie plot is about John Cusack trying to avoid getting killed by them.
The movie has been pretty much panned by almost every critic to review it, although Roger Ebert praised it enough for three stars. I loved it and loved the book before it. I realize that I am in a small minority in this regard.
What makes THE ICE HARVEST work for me is its noir blend of saltiness and satire, its mixture of comedy and karma.
The comedy here is based upon the hypocrisy of Christmas in this era of corruption and greed. All of the liars and killers and thieves in this movie talk about Christmas, about being home opening up presents with their kids. If you don't get that, I guess you won't see the comedy. It is nice that it is set in Wichita, Kansas, especially if you have read Thomas Frank's WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?
The opening graffiti above the urinal, "As Wichita Falls Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls," is a repeated line of jazz that caused an existential crisis for the film's French translator who had trouble distinguishing between "falls" as a noun and "falls" as a verb with a misplaced execution, Wichita Falls not being in Kansas but in Texas.Read more ›
This is easily the best flick Cusack has been in since 2000's HIGH FIDELITY and the wait was painful. His character is a bit of a throwback to his role in THE GRIFTERS, but with a hint of additional warmth.
Admittedly, this movie was marketed all wrong. Advertising this Coen-brothers-like neo-noir as being from "The director of GROUNDHOG DAY and CADDYSHACK" is like advertising MUNICH as being from "The director of 1941 and JAWS." Sure, it's true, but it gives people the wrong expectation.
I say, give it a shot.
Harold Ramis steps outside his normal feel-good comedies (ANALYZE THIS, etc.) and jumps headlong onto the dark side. Having the look and feel of a Cohen Brothers noir film, Ramis chose to incorporate old themes (good-looking but flawed guy falls for even more flawed girl while trying to pull a fast one) but did so using an updated script.
The film opens with Charlie (Cusack), a lawyer for the local mob in Wichita Falls, stealing two-million dollars from "The Boss" and meeting up with his partner Vic (Billy Bob Thornton, BAD SANTA). They plan to leave the city in the morning but a horrendous ice storm hits town and life on the roads (and in general) becomes slippery and dangerous. A recurring poetic verse keeps popping up, too: "As Wichita Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls." Charlie keeps seeing it written everywhere. But who's the author and what does it mean?
We quickly learn that Vic is as morally bankrupt as a person can get and has no intentions of sharing the ill-gotten funds with Charlie (are they really ill-gotten if you steal them from the mob?) But thrown into the mix is a beautiful femme fatal named Renata (Connie Nielsen, GLADIATOR). She runs a strip club in town but has an unusual attraction to Charlie, Vic and money. But which will win out?
When mob boss Bill Gerard (Randy Quaid, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) discovers the theft, he puts a thug named Roy (Mike Starr, KNOCKAROUND GUYS) onto Charlie and Vic's tails.Read more ›
The chilly surface of the film is captured perfectly here. The cool looking surface of the film mirrors the subject matter. Detail and clarity are exceptional. The 5.1 presentation sounds quite nice but keep in mind that this is a comedy with action not an action comedy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
disappointed with this movie usually john cusack and billy bob are in great movies but was let down with this onePublished 5 days ago by Michael F.
love the movie
one of my all time favs
holding on to nothing but the wheel
love the song
I think the funniest part in this movie is where the cop sneaks up on John Cusack's character on the bridge with his car, hits the siren and it startles John Cusack's character so... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ella Gene
When two low level mafia members are frustrated with their roles, they come up with a plan to steal two million dollars from their boss. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Todd Smith
This has just a lot of good talent in it. John Cusack is a favorite for me. Love him in everything he has acted in . Read morePublished 11 months ago by star
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