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Movie Review

Movie Review: 'Thin Ice'

Movie Review: 'Thin Ice'
Photo Source: ATO Pictures
"Thin Ice" is an engaging film noir that at moments borders on the gothic. Set in a frozen rural section of Wisconsin, the film tells the story of Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear), a luckless low-level insurance agent whose income is based on reeling in unsuspecting suckers to sell them overinflated policies they neither need nor want. When he encounters an isolated and eccentric old farmer (Alan Arkin) who owns a valuable violin, Mickey suspects he has hit a financial mother lode that goes well beyond his hefty commission. But his conning goes awry when a volatile and emotionally unstable locksmith (Billy Crudup) surfaces, ensnaring him in murder. The narrative is convoluted beyond comprehension; deceit and double-dealing are the motifs.

Despite its lack of clarity the film sustains the viewer's interest, thanks to the element of intrigue and entertaining performances. Indeed, Crudup's portrayal of a low-IQ sociopath is worth the price of admission. He's at once bone-chilling and hilarious. Kinnear also evokes an unexpected amalgam in his wonderfully amoral con artist, who is Machiavellian and paradoxically guileless. His old colleague Arkin—with whom he shared the screen in "Little Miss Sunshine"—creates an amusing kook with an accent of undefined origin. David Harbour, as a kindhearted insurance salesman, is a delightful counterpoint to the conniving Mickey. His character is so benign and well-intentioned that he appears to be brain-dead. In a smaller role, Bob Balaban is comically sinister as a wide-eyed violin appraiser with his own mean-spirited agenda.

Thanks to Jill Sprecher's crisp direction the film moves along at a fast pace. Credit must also be given to photographer Dick Pope and production designer Jeff Schoen for their perfectly bleak and barren landscape that brings to mind the world of "Fargo."

Genre: Crime-Comedy
Director: Jill Sprecher
Writers: Jill Sprecher and Karen Sprecher
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour, Bob Balaban

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