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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Iceman [Blu-ray]


(Ariel Vromen, 2012)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Bleiberg Entertainment

Video: Millennium



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:45:27.321

Disc Size: 22,621,604,362 bytes

Feature Size: 19,210,438,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.75 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 3rd, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1562 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1562 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps



English (SDH), Spanish, none



The Making of the Iceman (28:34)

Behind the Scenes (8:04)





Description: Inspired by actual events, The Iceman follows notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Academy Award® nominee Michael Shannon) from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men. Appearing to be living the American dream as a devoted husband and father; in reality Kuklinski was a ruthless killer-for-hire. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters had any clue about his real profession.



The Film:

Michael Shannon stars as notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski in this biopic from director Ariel Vromen (Rx, Danika). To his loving wife Deborah (Winona Ryder) and their growing family, Kuklinski was a caring father. But he was also a man with a dark secret and an unusual talent for covering his tracks. For nearly three decades starting in the 1950s, the suburban family man worked as one of the Gambino crime family's chief executioners, earning the nickname "Iceman" for his use of freezers in obscuring the forensic details of his victim's deaths. By constantly varying his methods, Kuklinski made it virtually impossible for investigators to assemble an accurate profile of the killer credited with taking over 100 lives. A protégé of seasoned assassin Robert "Mister Softee" Pronge (Chris Evans), the elusive contract killer struggles to reconcile his relationship with his sociopathic brother Joseph (Stephen Dorff) while nurturing a close friendship with his Gambino contact Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta). Then, in 1986, an arrest brings Kuklinski's violent career to a sudden end.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

In “The Iceman” Michael Shannon’s mesmerizing portrayal of Richard Kuklinski, a notorious contract killer, has the paradoxical quality, peculiar to many great screen performances, of being unreadable and transparent. You can’t really see through Richard, whose pale-blue eyes take in the world from a face as expressionless as a sphinx. But in its tiniest tremors you can sense explosive forces roiling below the mask and grasp the duality with a visceral feeling of dread. It is a performance that has the same life-or-death gravity Mr. Shannon brought to the role of a man driven half-mad by apocalyptic portents in “Take Shelter.”

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Iceman has been transferred to Blu-ray by Millennium in Region 1.  The image quality is nothing exceptional but suspect this may be, for the most part, rest on the film itself - shot in HD. The visuals are very dark and don't have a lot of crispness. This is only single-layered but it doesn't look as if dual-layering would help out here. There is some natural softness and colors are subdued with a heavy grey palette. Noise exists but its doesn't seem out of the normal range. Contrast doesn't come into play much as the film is so dark. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. On the positive it does give a consistent presentation and the style and art direction benefit the appearance in subtle ways.

















Audio :

Millennium transfer the audio via a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track at 1562 kbps or the option of a simple Dolby Digital stereo track. It still packs a punch after some nice tension with help from a great score by Haim Mazar. Effects aren't crisp in hitting the rear speakers but there is plenty of depth and seething bass. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Not much - a little more extensive than a standard Making of... running almost 1/2 hour with Ariel Vromen and others giving input. There is also an ad-hoc Behind the Scenes piece running 8-minutes.



Shades of the popular gangster type Scorsese (shades of Goodfellas) / Sopranos efforts but focusing on the protagonist as a frequently troubled individual and moving, as the film progresses, to seek our sympathy. It is shares equal time in thriller aspects as well as character study. I enjoyed the art direction (70's) and it is a well-made film although very dark for my personal tastes. The Blu-ray seems solid although the film itself wouldn't be used for demo material. I liked it enough although wouldn't be on anyone's 'A' list. 

Gary Tooze

August 14th, 2013



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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