The Ice Harvest (2005)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Ice Harvest</strong> (2005)

(In theaters, November 2005) Director Harold Ramis here makes a blatant bid for the “Coen Brothers” type of film, only to fail when it becomes obvious that the script is only a pale copy of the “small city black comedy” sub-genre. Sure, protagonist John Cusack is always sympathetic (though he’s reaching an age where boyishness ceases to be an option), Connie Nielsen plays a suitable femme fatale and Billy Bob Thornton is effortlessly dangerous. But there’s a a lack of urgency in this script, despite the tight time frame, despite the desperate circumstances, despite the potential for interesting characters. Certain scenes rise above the others (isn’t it surprising how a guy talking his way out of a locked trunk is comic gold?) while others just linger in place. At least there’s plenty of skill to admire in the film’s first act, as it plunges us boldly in a situation where characters already have established relationships. To be fair, The Ice Harvest doesn’t attempt to be anything more than a low-octane criminal comedy, and it achieves this goal with a relative ease. The performances are relaxed, the direction is unobtrusive and until the drawn-out ending, the film moves at a comfortable rhythm. Not exceptional, but not too bad either.

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