The Ice Harvest (2005)


You’re very well aware at how poorly put together this vehicle is, when throughout the entire film, people are shot in the head with a small hole and a drip of blood from the frontal lobe, yet right in the climax when the villain’s head is blown away, blood and brain matter splatters all over Connie Nielsen. I hated “The Ice Harvest.” I hated its being. I hated its presence. Because—borrowing from a hilarious scene in “The Family Guy”—it insists upon itself. It’s so smug in its attempt to feel like a neo-noir dramedy, and fails in every aspect, and then tries horribly to shove the themes down our throats and never lets up.

Ramis’ film suffers because from beginning to end it’s constantly looking for a direction in both its story and tone. Is it a comedy? Is it a black comedy? Is it an action heist film? Or faux Elmore Leonard? Is it a neo-noir, or just a satire of neo-noir? I couldn’t decide, nor did I have it in me to muster up the answer. But every so often, Ramis reveals his aspirations to create a faux-noir with the femme fatale played by the gorgeous Connie Nielson, with a spotlight on her eyes just accentuate the mystery, and that climactic showdown in the climax that’s not entertaining or exciting.

And even when the film settles down to tell a story, it rambles on in an unfunny series of physical outtakes, weak humor involving Oliver Platt drunk throughout the entirety of the film, and not a single laugh is drawn. The actors look very bored here, from John Cusack who stumbles around sleepily, Oliver Platt who is phoning it in, and Billy Bob Thorton who seems to be half-assing it. And then when it’s not being smug and self-important, the mystery involving money stolen is dull, dim, and cheesy. I really expected more from this, especially with Cusack, Thorton, and Nielsen. But we’re just served a half-cocked wannabe noir film. In spite of all the evident talent, “The Ice Harvest” is a smug, and awfully dull quasi-noir comedy with an extremely limp mystery, a cheesy plot, and sub-par acting. Ramis’ dark comedy is never as good as it tries to be, and fails in every instance.