Thick Thieves. Thin Ice.
The Ice Harvest
Review by Ross Anthony

This film starts with great promise. It even slides into the hour mark with great scripting and a wonderfully quirky tension that sets the film skating out with a gentle breeziness over the crackling ice. Cusack is good, he's always good -- fun, intelligent, empty (this character anyway). It's Christmas Eve night, and he seems to be set a waver between merely a shady lawyer and a hands-dirty underworld thug. What will become of him? Is he slowly growing a conscience or is he just scared? I like the way the film plays the audience.

But in the meantime and in a film about faulted thieves, Oliver Platt steals the show. He plays a man drunk and dangerously honest. Drunks can be difficult to tollerate, and people who pretend to be drunk on screen can be overbearingly tedious, but Platt is smashing (and the great dialogue), together they elevate this thus far 'B+' film far into 'A' territory. Unfortunately, Platt is not a fixture. As he departs, in comes Billy Bob (who is not at his best here), and shortly thereafter the writing falls apart. The script calls for the Cusack character to do something so utterly unbelievable, that I never find myself quite back into the film. The thin ice of the production itself breaks. What looked like an A, sinks to a B. Nor does the resolution of Cusack's plight bring much weight to the picture.

Too bad too, because I loved Groundhog Day, an absolute gem from the same director, Harold Ramis who remarks, "For me, the best comedy comes from reality. There's nothing that's written as a joke in The Ice Harvest; no one's trying to be funny. It's a film noir - with laughs."


  • The Ice Harvest. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Olliver Platt, Randy Quaid, Connie Nielsen.
  • Directed by Harold Ramos.
  • Screenplay by Mark Richard Russo & Robert Benton. Based on the novel by Scott Phillips.
  • Produced by Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa, a Focus Features release.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:07:41 PDT