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The Ice House (2012)

Daniel Craig , Corin Redgrave , Tim Fywell  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Craig, Corin Redgrave
  • Directors: Tim Fywell
  • Writers: Minette Walters
  • Producers: Suzan Harrison
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2012
  • Run Time: 172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008RO6PJQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,019 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Years before he became James Bond, Daniel Craig played a cynical Scottish detective in this BBC adaptation of the Minette Walters bestseller. Craig's Sergeant McLoughlin is still smarting from the dissolution of his marriage when a handyman discovers a badly decomposed body in the Maybury family's abandoned ice house. McLoughlin's superior, Chief Inspector Walsh (Corin Redgrave with ever-present sneer), suspects it may be David Maybury, whose disappearance he investigated nine years ago. Now Maybury's wife, Phoebe (Penny Downie), shares their Hampshire mansion with two women who are believed to be lesbians, Diana Goode (Frances Barber) and Anne Cattrell (Kitty Aldridge), who takes an immediate dislike to McLoughlin, dismissing him as a "sanctimonious little git," but their encounters suggest a certain sexual attraction on his part. As the detectives gather information about Phoebe, her friends, and her children, Jane (Alexandra Milman) and Jon (Cloud Atlas's James D'Arcy), everyone emerges as a potential suspect--even Phillips (Dave Hill), the handyman. Though her husband had a reputation for abuse, Phoebe's small-minded, homophobic neighbors believe she injured herself to make him look bad, but the truth is far trickier. If his accent can be inconsistent, Craig is otherwise effective, an attribute that extends to the rest of the fine cast. With a smattering of profanity and disturbing imagery, The Ice House is grittier than your average made-for-TV mystery; more David Fincher than Agatha Christie. The two-part movie comes complete with a profile of Walters, who was working on her seventh novel at the time. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) stars in one of his earliest roles in this adaptation of award-winning crime novelist Minette Walters' literary debut. Ten years ago Phoebe Maybury's hateful husband David disappeared from Streech Grange. Now a naked unidentifiable corpse has been discovered in the icehouse on the Grange and Inspectors Walsh (Corin Redgrave Foyle's War The Forsyte Saga) and McLoughlin (Craig) have to decide whose it is whether he was murdered and who killed him.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
One of the primary selling points to the 1997 British two-parter "The Ice House" is to enjoy a younger, and distinctly less famous, Daniel Craig. Craig plays a detective who can be characterized as intense, brusque, and oftentimes downright hostile. It's a strong performance and one that grows more interesting, more nuanced, and much softer (but still with edge) as this mystery unravels. I mention Craig upfront as the entire marketing campaign for this DVD release hinges on his popularity. Just look at the cover--nothing but Craig! While Craig is compelling, though, it would be unjust to claim that this production belongs to him alone. In fact, "The Ice House" is a true ensemble piece with a number of actors turning in stellar work. The DVD menu has the two parts listed separately as well as a feature with the source novel author Minette Walters.

"The Ice House" begins with the discovery of a body on the isolated estate inhabited by a controversial trio of women. Penny Downie plays the central figure whose husband disappeared under mysterious circumstances ten years prior, and this new development (in the ice house, of course) seems to unsettle her greatly. Her friends and tenants are played by Frances Barber and Kitty Aldridge. The ladies have built a fortress around themselves since the accusations of many years ago, and their aloofness has caused rampant speculation and rumors to spread throughout the town. As police descend on their domicile, the ladies are met with much suspicion and hostility. The DCI in charge of the case (Corin Redgrave) obstinately refuses to consider any possibility that isn't linked to past events. And his hot-headed Detective Superintendent (Craig) seems fully onboard.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
The Ice House is a 3 hour long police procedural adapted from Minette Walters' work of the same title. The novel won the Crime Writers Association Award for Best First Novel and also the John Creasey Award for Best Debut in 1992. The TV adaptation is a co-production between the BBC and WGBH Boston in association with Showcase Canada. This TV adaptation was screened back in 1996 and is finally available on DVD here in the United States.

The story reminded me a little of The Midsomer Murders crime series but with darker, more menacing undertones. The story begins with the discovery of a badly decomposed corpse in a desolate and forgotten ice house. The ice house is part of the grounds of a large estate called Streech Grange, owned by Phoebe Maybury (Penny Downie). Ten years earlier, Phoebe's despised husband David had gone missing and Phoebe was the prime suspect in the case. The police at the time suspected Phoebe of murdering her husband and had even dug up the grounds in the hope of finding David's remains but to no avail.

Now that a corpse has turned up, the question is - who is the dead person? Is it David, and if so, did Phoebe kill him? Or is the victim someone else? Enter Chief Inspector George Walsh (Corin Redgrave) and his DS, Andy McLoughlin (a younger Daniel Craig). DCI Walsh has an axe to grind with Phoebe, long suspecting her of covering up her husband's murder and is out to prove her guilt. DS McLoughlin on the other hand, goes through the motions as he deals with the collapse of his own personal life.

Soon enough though, McLoughlin gets deeply entrenched in the case as he finds there's much more going on under the surface.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chilling Abyss of the Human Soul April 17, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
'The Ice House' is a truly remarkable venture, both in terms of plot and of characterization.

As far as the slowly unfolding plot is concerned, the film is second to hardly any of the British (TV) mysteries of past years such as 'Inspector Morse', 'Silent Witness', 'Inspector Lynley' etc.

The main characters are portrayed in a convincing yet cinematically appropriate way. Right from the very beginning the film psychologically probes the dark sides of human nature keeping the viewer in tight suspense right to the very end. It's not the ice house of the title that chill is emanated from - it's the abyss of the human soul !

Definitely worth seeing.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great adaptation of an Ensemble Mystery May 20, 2010
Format:VHS Tape
I found some of the adaptations of Minette Walter's other books (such as The Scupltress) to be too creepy, so I avoided this one the first time around. However, somewhere I heard that this one was not so creepy or gruesome, and so I tracked down a copy. (I got a region 2 DVD, which took some trouble to watch.)

It turns to be a great old-fashioned mystery drama - everyone deceiving everyone else, even the cops. Lots of ironic twists and turns. Everything ties together, although I think it would have been better if they'd given it at least one more half hour, because some turns happen too fast. (Also, it's pretty clear they edited, since there are references in dialog at the end that imply a couple of loose ends had more to them.)

The whole cast does a great job, although some of the minor characters are annoying because they only have one-note and it's a shrill one. (The hateful villagers in particular get tiring.)

I do advise watching this before reading the book, if possible, simply because you don't know what's left out, so it's easier to enjoy the book after the movie than the other way around.
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