Thin Ice

2011

Action / Comedy / Crime / Drama

7
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 52%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 4184

Synopsis


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April 05, 2016 at 01:24 AM

Director

Cast

Lea Thompson as Jo Ann Prohaska
Billy Crudup as Randy
Greg Kinnear as Mickey Prohaska
Alan Arkin as Gorvy Hauer
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
679.38 MB
1280*544
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 33 min
P/S 2 / 3
1.41 GB
1920*816
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 33 min
P/S 4 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by richard-1967 7 / 10

What genre movie is this? I'm not sure, but watch it for the acting

This is a flawed but still watchable film that seems to steal characters and plot from the Coen Brothers' Fargo, yet manages to succeed. At least to an extent.

The problem may be - as we were told at our cinema previewing club - that the director lost final cut here, and found herself with a movie she no longer can even comment on, with 15 minutes cut, the film re-edited, and a score she never intended - and one that doesn't work well.

The result is a somewhat uneven, too dark black comedy. Or is it a drama? Or perhaps a "caper" movie? I'm not quite sure.

When it comes to the acting, though, this is a great film. Greg Kinnear plays a character too reminiscent of Wm. H. Macy's turn in Fargo, but he makes the most of it, though - team player that he is - he's outshone by more spectacular performances. Alan Arkin, for one, who also did it to Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine. But the "steal the show" performance is by Billy Crudup, always sexy (my wife says he's "hot") and interesting to watch, and here at his very best. Bob Balaban is spot on as a violin dealer, and the rest of the cast is excellent.

Worth seeing for many, but mostly for those performances.

Reviewed by Steve Pulaski 7 / 10

The kind of film you feel bad to complain about

Even if I disliked Thin Ice, I'd still have major sympathy for co-writer/director Jill Sprecher, who seemed to have went through hell and high water just to get this film a release. Thin Ice was originally released to Sundance under the name "The Convincer," in a one-hundred and fourteen minute cut that received strong reception from audiences and critics. However, the studio that purchased the film insisted that the score be redundant, the editing reworked, and the pace of the film increased, making the picture ninety-three minutes instead of one-hundred and fourteen. Sprecher, obviously embarrassed and frustrated, has basically given up on Thin Ice and likely looks at it as a sore spot on her career.

That note alone should make one hesitate before publishing something negative about the film. It makes me consider my position as an online film critic deeper, too. Here I am, a viewer of many movies a year (last year almost five-hundred) by choice, and I don't always take into account the effort it takes to make a picture and the stress that numerous people likely go under. Thin Ice is a perfect example of a film I hesitate to review because I feel as if I have not seen the real thing. The ninety-three minute cut has received mixed reception, contrary to the original films near-acclaim.

Regardless, I find Thin Ice - in and of itself - a solid crime caper. The story centers around Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear), a third rate insurance salesman in a dire financial predicament, looking to invest in something that will increase his reliability, win back his wife, and get him out of the frigid, merciless conditions the Wisconsin cold has brought him. He teams up with another man to try and sell Gorvy Hauer (Alan Arkin), an elderly, senile farmer, insurance despite knowing the man doesn't have much money at all. When Mickey discovers he has an expensive-looking violin, he has it appraised only to realize it is slightly rare and valued at $25,000.

This seems all well and good until Randy Kinney (Billy Crudup), a local con-man with an unstable temper, discovers Mickey's plans and, in the process, kills one of Gorvy's neighbors. Now, in an effort to save his own skin, Mickey must work with Randy to cover up the murder, while trying to turn a profit from Gorvy, and sneakily sell his violin for what soon becomes an unruly amount of money.

One film that will cross nearly every mind that watches this film is Fargo, the Coen brothers classic. The entire picture seems like a spin off of the film, from the similar plotpoints to the locational weather to the darkly funny direction the film takes. Despite this, Sprecher and her sister Karen do a bold job of making this film stand on its own, simply because of the way events are piled on each other in a rapid-fire order and how the twist is tacked on at the end.

The acting, however, is the film's strongest feature, with Kinnear, Crudup, and Arkin being on top of their game in terms of convincing performances. Kinnear is a great everyman, but he has a way about playing a man who has a bigger, brasher internal view of himself in contrast to the way he actually appears. This kind of character's mannerisms are seen in the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine, where he played a father hellbent on selling success advice in a cheap twelve-step book. Here, he plays a deadbeat husband hellbent on selling insurance in a cheaply wrapped package and achieves the same level of success.

Meanwhile, Crudup's character is a tricky one to pull off. He is a character that requires the actor playing him to go from collective to explosive in a matter of seconds akin to a time-bomb. This works tremendously in contrast to Kinnear's "gotta keep everything subtle and cool" persona. Finally, it should come as no surprise Arkin is great here, but the role is made more special because it shows Arkin as something he rarely is - gullible.

Ultimately, there are issues in Thin Ice that need to be addressed. The pacing is a bit too fast and the opening is a tad sluggish when it should look to grab our attention. However, these are issues that I am almost certain wouldn't exist if the original cut had been released like it should've been. The product we are left with is pretty solid and an easy thing to recommend, but the entire thing almost feels like a cliffhanger that has no writer to complete it.

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, and Alan Arkin. Directed by: Jill Sprecher.

Reviewed by sundevil27 8 / 10

A Great Con Movie - Done Midwestern Style

The swindle, the bamboozle, the big Con. A favorite subject for filmmakers for nearly a century now. The game is basically always the same, but the players are what makes for a great con movie. "Thin Ice" (previously titled at Sundance 2011 as "The Convincer") goes white-collar crime, the legal kind, just look in your phone book and you might find your own convincer, the local Insurance salesman.

"Thin Ice" directed by Jill Sprecher, is Sprecher's return to feature films after her well received "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing". Alan Arkin, returns to team up again with Sprecher and is joined on screen with "Little Miss Sunshine" cohort Greg Kinnear to create a thoroughly enjoyable tale of Midwestern simplicity and the everyday Con man with a silver tongue. An old man with an unfathomably rare violin crosses paths with an insurance salesman at the end of his rope, what unfolds across the frozen terrain of Wisconsin is a wonderful bit of storytelling The film has a solid cast of players, alongside Kinnear and Arkin, Billy Cudrup has a solid little role. David Harbour delivers a gem of a performance and the fantastic Bob Balaban is always a welcome addition to any movie.

Much of the effectiveness of the movie, which could easily have been a rehash of all the movies before it, is in its Midwestern point of view and ability take your average insurance man and peel away the layers to observe how the art of lying creates a life of constant deceit that will eventually take it's toll. Mickey the insurance man(Kinnear) trolls 24/7 for a mark to give his sales pitch, but when he crosses paths with the simple farmer Gorvy the amount of deceit he will need to get the big payday pushes him to cross even lines he never dreamt of going.

A unusual relationship forms between the insurance man and the farmer, as Mickey is forced into a role of caregiver as he circles the rare violin in hopes of selling it for big money. "Thin Ice" unfolds through these series of encounters between Mickey and Gorvey and tension builds at a detailed pace towards Mickey's eventual ultimate deceit. Mickey's life is falling apart around him, ultimately their is no back-up plan, at any and all costs his existence is tied to the old man and the violin.

The film maintains a steady pace, each detail is thoroughly absorbed and clearly never losing sight that its all building up to, not if, but when Mickey will cross the line from white-collar liar to criminal. Although "Thin Ice" is a fascinating take on the relationship between a simple Midwest farmer and convincing insurance man, it is foremost a story of the consequences of lying and when those lies will come back to haunt you.

Thus the story takes a dramatic turn as Mickey unwillingly teams with a local ex-convict locksmith(Billy Cudrup) to break into Gorvy's home to get his prize violin. Things don't go at all as planned and soon Mickey is dealing with a whole nother type of crime. The killing kind. What unfolds through the second half of the movie is a masterful touch of high tension and bumbling amateur criminal misbehaving.

Though the film will undoubtedly be compared to a few other con movies, Fargo comes to mind though that's primarily just scenery correlation, "Thin Ice" is very much original. The strength of this film is the wonderfully acted script that is sharp and nearly without flaw. The movie could not have had better pieces then Kinnear and Arkin who are brilliantly matched and thoughtfully reminiscent of their real life counterparts.

This thoroughly engaging and captivating little tale works from beginning to end. If one were to focus on possible weaknesses it would only be that true to it's Midwestern stylings its not overly flashy Nor particularly gritty compared to slicker studio productions. That being said "Thin Ice" is completely its own film and gives very little to dislike.

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