Greg Kinnear On ‘Thin Ice’ In Crime Dramady, DVD Review
Anytime there lurks an indie-style crime drama placed near the Northern border of the great States – accompanied by sub-freezing temperatures, a snowy backdrop and smarter-than-you-think regulars – one film comes to mind. In director Jill Sprecher’s slick crime comedy/drama Thin Ice, this is certainly far from a negative thing, as any film this similar to the Coen Brothers’ masterpiece Fargo - drawing critically positive response – certainly deserves more than a mere second thought. It would be all to easy to simply write the film off as a second-rate clone (based solely off the film’s one sheet), but taking another gander warrants otherwise.
The film stars the Greg Kinnear as Mickey Prohaska, in true douche bag form, as a slick-talking and morally ambiguous insurance agent with a few personal issues (hey, who doesn’t have ‘em, right?) looking for the first thing smokin’ out of icy Kinosha, WI. After meeting naive associate and apparent fan Bob Segar (Bill Harbour) at a seminar where he’s speaking, Micky – in an attempt to
help Bob get the sale – is drawn out, reluctantly, to a remote farm owned by simple, retired farmer Gorvy Hauer (Alan Arkin). From the moment the two step on the premises, we find Bob looking to aid Gorvy in getting the policy he needs for his farm, while Mickey works to over-insure him for the sake of saving his financial future and marriage to rightfully vindictive wife Jo Ann (Lea Thompson). From there, things spiral out of control when Mickey finds that an appraiser (Bob Balaban) has called to offer Gorvy $25,000 for an antique violin that proves a family heirloom – that is until Mickey decides to steal the violin and sell it for himself.
This is an interesting film and film concept to say the least, as it is told through the eyes of the protagonist (as much as Mickey can be considered a “good” guy), especially when paired with unstable locksmith, ex-con Billy Crudup in a frightening, but hilarious turn as a man who blackmails Mickey in an attempt to extort the money for the violin. Only then is it easier to feel some sort of sympathy for Mickey and his horrific decision-making throughout, which delves him deeper into trouble with every fib he spews to gain ground in the twisted situation.
The acting in Thin Ice is probably much better than the film deserves, as Kinnear (a wonderful actor) is in top form, while Crudup and Arkin work to steal the show (par for the course where these two are concerned). Kinnear is fantastic as a regular guy just trying to progress in life the best he knows how – but simply doesn’t seem to know any other way than to build a house of cards around himself – which ultimately causes him to digress. The parallels between his business and personal sides become ever-so-blurred with every footstep down the moral scale. The question is, who is it that’s making their way down, truly? The twists prove legitimate, but you’ll need to check this one out for yourself to find out where they…lie.
The DVD Extras include: Behind the Scenes, Deleted Scenes and the Sundance Premiere Featurette, offering a bit more insight into the story of the making of Thin Ice.
Thin Ice is directed by Jill Sprecher based on a story from she and Karen Sprecher, starring Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin, Bob Harbour and Lea Thompson. You can grab the DVD/Blu-ray this Tuesday, June 12, 2012.