The Ice Harvest - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Ice Harvest Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2013
Charlie Arglist: As Wichita falls... so falls Wichita Falls.

"'Twas the night before Christmas"

The Ice Harvest is a good little, dark comedy-thriller that has more than just shades of Fargo all over it. This was a fun movie for me. I loved the story and I liked John Cusack as the lead and the supporting cast just helped add more to the whole film experience. I fail to see why this has been so negatively reviewed. Maybe people expected something different, maybe people think it is just a rip-off, but in my mind, this is a worthwhile and really fun movie that doesn't take itself to seriously, but also doesn't give itself completely over to ridiculousness. 

Charlie Arglist is a mob lawyer in Wichita, Kansas. It's Christmas Eve and the bad freezing rain is expected to fall all night. Charlie and his friend Vic have just embezzled $2 million from the local mob and now they're just waiting out the rain so they can get out of town. Crimes such as this normally don't go unknown though and soon after successfully getting the money, Charlie begins to think that the mob is looking for him and Vic. 

While this isn't wholly original, it's a fun movie that I enjoyed. Every second was entertaining and there is suspense around every corner. I don't understand how so many people could think this was boring. That seems like the one thing it isn't. The movie is dark, funny, wacky, silly, exciting, fun, and suspenseful. Boring is the one thing that never came to my mind while watching The Ice Harvest. So give it a look if you get a chance.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2012
Its a rainy Christmas in Wichita, 1979, icy rain and cold, when small time mob lawyer Cusack decides to skim a little moolah from mean ol'boss Quaid's illegal loot. Luckily his friends want to help him out (outta the goodness of their widdle hearts!) before he gets permanently iced but good in this wee bit of a enjoyable comic noirfest surprisingly directed by Harold Ramis.
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2012
I was expecting something pretty good with this film, but I was disappointed. With a great cast of actors and interesting story, I'm surprised that the filmmakers couldn't have created anything better than what this film turned out to be. This is a pretty bad film, and I was disappointed because the cast and story were promising. However the film just didn't do it for me. As far as a dark comedy is concerned, this one just doesn't have what it takes and it is plainly a bad film that not even with the good cast at hand, they weren't able to save it from failing. This film could have been great, but it isn't. Harold Ramis over the years has made some great comedy classics, but nowadays he's losing his touch. The Ice Harvest is a boring film that you'll lose interest after a while. I thought that the film could have been much better considering the cast and director. However Harold Ramis can't seem to direct something consistent here. In the end, this is a boring film that could have been better. I think that the black humor elements could have been reworked as well, as even by those humor standards, it didn't do anything to make this film stand out. This film could have been good, but it was just a poorly made film with nothing interesting going for it. I was very disappointed in this film, thought it could have been much better than what it turned out to be.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2011
Terrible and boring.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
Critics have already pointed out the debt this film owes to Elmore Leonard and the Coen Brothers, and I completely agree. I think it's earned, too. This didn't seem like a Harold Ramis movie to me, but that's alright. It's a good one, too. Really good. It's probably his best film in quite some time. I think if I watched it a few more times and studied it, I might be able to pick out some philosophical type stuff that he's prone to putting in his films, but until then I'm content to just sit back and enjoy darkly comedic noir caper.

There are some similarities between this and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but I think thos one's much better, mostly because it's played steaight and not giving a wink to the audience. For that reason, the tension seems to work better, and the audience is more drawn into things.

None of the characters are really all that likeable, but that's probably the point, and it's definitely to the credit of all t he actors, too. Cusack is fun, and Thornton is great at playing down tright mean guys you don't want to mess with, but For me, the real highlight was Oliver Platt. He's a real scene stealer here, and just a hoot to watch. Connie Nielsen is great as the classic femme fatale, and I love the fact that she looks different with each role she plays, and is able to make you forget that she's European. Mike Starr is also a joy.

This isn't for all tastes, and it's really a bitter, dark film even though it's also quite hilarious, so, only see it if you think you'll enjoy this type of thing.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2009
John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver, Platt, Ned Bellamy, Mike Starr, Connie Nielsen, Jenny Wade, Diane Frances Fisher, Lara Phillips

DIRECTED BY: Harold Ramis

It's Christmas Eve in rainy, icebound Wichita, Kansas, and this year Charlie Arglist just might have something to celebrate. Charlie, an attorney for the sleazy businesses of Wichita, and his unsavory associate, the steely Vic Cavenaugh, have just successfully embezzled $2,147,000 from Kansas City boss Bill Guerrard. Even so, the real prize for Charlie would be the stunning Renata, who runs the Sweet Cage strip club. Charlie's fondest Christmas wish is to slip out of town with Renata. But, as daylight fades and a storm whirls, everyone from Charlie's drinking buddy Pete Van Heuten to the local police begin to wonder just what exactly is in Charlie's Christmas stocking. For Charlie, the 12 hours of Christmas Eve are filled with nonstop twists and turns, both on the ice and off.

It's a fun dark comedy. John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton are really good together. Would have liked it if Billy Bob was in it a bit more. It was more amusing when him and Cusack are great together and funnier. I also enjoyed Oliver Platt, he was hilarious on his own. Just a funny comedy that will keep you entertained for about an hour and a half.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2009
I actually found myself really enjoying this. While the script is only so-so, John Cusack just really made a tremendous effort and made it an above average comedy. It also has a very strong supporting cast including Billy Bob Thorton, Oliver Platt and Randy Quaid (go figure). It is relentless and extremely dark for a comedy, which makes it so refreshing.
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2007
Really disappointed with this movie i thought this was going to be hilarious maybe not great on the storyline but at least hilarios, i was really wrong the laughs are far an few between even though the should have kept billy bo longer as he did make the movie a bit more bearable! il love john cusack hes one of these great actors who isnt the most well nown actor like some top A listers but is fantastic and i just wish he didnt pick this movie!
Its boring and doesnt answer a lot of questions to be honest i felt confused at the end!
Not really worth a watch!
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2006
Decent thriller comedy about two crooks trying to get away with a huge sum of money on the night of Christmas while they gotta keep their feet still for a night of ice rain. What starts somewhat confusing as a tour through strip clubs, bars and apartments gets better in the second half when there is more crime and murder. Although the showdown suffers from a villain who has not yet appeared in the film and is not exactly unpredictable, the solution is still somewhat satisfying, mostly thanks to John Cusack. No must see but an entertaining piece for fans of "Fargo" or similar films.
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2006
Vic: Pay no attention to the man in the trunk.

A movie where the ads cannot do it justice. It's a dark comedy, with almost no sympathetic characters. Despite it being a comedy to it's main extent, there are a lot of neo-noir elements to this movie, main examples including the femme fetale played by Connie Nielson and the twisty dark nature of the whole thing.

Vic: Well? How'd it go?
Charlie Arglist: Good. Went good.
Vic: How much?
Charlie Arglist: A lot.
Vic: Am I gonna have to slap the shit outta you? How much?
Charlie Arglist: Vic, it's a great, big, fuckin' pile of money: two-million - one-hundred - forty-seven-thousand dollars and change. My God, we're actually doing this.
Vic: No, we're not doing it. It's already done.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve. An attorney for the mob, Cusack, and his sleazy partner in crime, Thorton, have just stolen a large sum of money from a crime boss, and must now survive the night before they leave their lame lives in Kansas forever.

We follow Cusack's character throughout the film, where he must deal with strip club bartenders, his favorite girl, the harsh weather, his drunken ex-wife's husband, and any hit men he may come across.

Charlie Arglist: Pete, I know you're not asking for my advice, but listen... you should really shut the fuck up.

The story is fairly predictable, but it's more about how these characters go about their business, which is what I enjoyed.

John Cusack is always welcome, here playing a character similar but dimmer than in The Grifters. Billy Bob Thorton does his thing, and does it good, despite having only a few scenes. I found him to be very good particularly in the last scenes he appears in. However, the best work comes from Oliver Platt who steals most of the movie, playing drunk, sad, and asshole all at the same time, and it works.

Pete Van Heuten: [waking up in back of Charlie's car] Ugh... Where are we?
Charlie Arglist: We're in heaven, Pete.
Pete Van Heuten: Oh... They got pancakes?
Charlie Arglist: They got everything.
Pete Van Heuten: Good.

Harold Ramis of all people directed this film and tries his hardest to balance the tone of this film. Its tricky due to how dark this movie really is, despite having its humorous moments.

By the end you can certainly feel a bit exhausted after the twists have ensued and blood has been spilled, but I enjoyed the flick. It has good performances and supplies a good Christmas movie to watch that doesn't involve so much joy.

Charlie: As Wichita falls... so falls Wichita Falls.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2007
Pretty funny movie and a good cast. The plot was pretty good, but I think they could of done a lot more with it. It was sort of predictable, at points too. Maybe not worth buying, but, def. worth a watch.
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2007
Very odd movie. Kinda predictable. Still, fun.
Super Reviewer
½ June 22, 2007
Hmmm. We're well into Coen-aping territory for this recent neo-noir starring the usually very reliable John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton.
Cusack plays a lawyer who steals $2 million with his partner, but soon finds a mob enforcer on his tail and a host of other mishaps befalling his would-be getaway. It's sad that Cusack is kinda slumming it for this one, as normally Cusack + crime comedy = cinematic manna from heaven (see the sublime Grosse Pointe Blank), but as a noir it lacks sparkling dialogue, and as a comedy its not all that funny. In fact, that's really the big distinction between this film and its superior forebears such as the Grifters and Fargo; that where those films (and other 90s crime capers) married styles perfectly, here each scene seems to alternately wildly between strong violence, humour, proper noir and so forth.
Still, the movie has its moments, such as banter with a guy trapped in a foot-locker, Oliver Platt giving 110% as our anti-hero's drunken oafish friend, and Randy Quaid is rather effective as the third-act heavy.
But against this the picture has an idiotic 'allow-me-to-spell-out-my-plan-oh-shit-he's-got-me-whilst-I-was-waffling' moment, and Connie Nielsen has just a 2D rendering of a femme fatale. Add to this tons of plot twists and a random unexplained message and you're left with an OK film, but a pale imitator of a great.
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2007
Way Underrated little Noir.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2007
A wickedly funny and twistedly brilliant crime thriller. Great film noir. It packs a wallop of suspense, laughs and deep twist. A plot that will always keep you going. A great cast. John Cusack and Billy Bob Thorton are great. An unpredictable and charasmatic group. Randy Quaid is a knockout. Oliver Platt is a comic dazzeler. He's funny in every scene he's in. A film which develops it's plot and chracters nicely. A dark, hilarious and enjoyable movie. A cool, retro feel. A stylish and sensational flick. One of the years most entertaining films.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2006
A dark, rotten and hateful movie with great characters and superb dialogue. It's also a great neo-noir movie too. A lot of fun.
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2006
For some of the flixster `ohana, you know that I'm a big Cusack fan. For me, he hits way more than he misses. This is one of those projects I'd have wished he'd pass up. If I were part of Team Cusack, I would have tried my utmost to convice Cusack that this was not worthy of the time and effort. Really bad stuff, second-most because of the quality of the script. The foremost problem? It's that he and Thorton have nothing in common on the screen. Zero chemistry. It's beyond sad. Moving into the realm of painful. Come on, John, life is short. Go long!
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2006
A pretty good movie. Billy bob wasnt as annoying as usual and Cusack was great as usual.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2006
The Ice Harvest has talent to spare in front of the camera, but isn't nearly as smart or sharp as it would like to be.
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