The Iceman has opened at the Venice Film Festival, with Michael Shannon playing the lead role of the cold-hearted sociopath Richie. So far, response to the film has been mixed with some critics questioning the movie's ability to rise from the saturated gangster genre, whilst others were happy to rate the movie on its own merits and were full of praise for the intriguing plot.
Amongst those sticking the knife in were London's Evening Standard critic Derek Malcolm, who actually praised Shannon's performance though claimed that it pretty much saves the movie", adding, "The film wouldn't live on the same planet as Coppola's The Godfather or Scorsese's Goodfellas. Nor with all those James Cagney thrillers of yesteryear", adding, "Thanks to Shannon, it survives. The new Stoneface, not for the first time, makes his mark." Similarly, the IndieWire blog dismissed the film as "a tired take on the mob flick," and wasn't even that taken with Shannon's turn, saying that he "never get(s) his teeth into the part, and it feels like a retread of things that he's done before."
In contrast, the Hollywood Reporter described Shannon as the "smoldering center of the drama," adding that "It's a tribute to this astonishing actor that no matter how vicious his actions, Richie remains an antihero with an unyielding grip on our attentions." The chemistry between Shannon and co-star Winona Ryder also seems to be one of the movie's draws, but essentially, it's Shannon's portrayal of the central character on which most reviewers have hung their opinions of this harsh gangster tale.