Directed by Jill Sprecher
Thin Ice is a “not terribly original piece of Midwestern noir,” said Walter Addiego in the San Francisco Chronicle. Though the film is “watchable,” its snowy landscape and “blackly humorous jolts” too much recall the Coen brothers’ Fargo. Greg Kinnear stars as a Wisconsin insurance salesman who’s trying to swindle an absent-minded farmer out of a rare violin when an unstable locksmith elbows his way into the scam and pushes it down a far darker path. The cast doesn’t disappoint, said Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News. As usual, Kinnear is an “affable but sly onscreen presence,” while Alan Arkin makes a “funny and flavorful” mark and Billy Crudup proves a “deliciously unpredictable” criminal sidekick. Too bad “the movie can’t seem to figure out” if it wants to be “an amoral romp or a cautionary tale,” said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Maybe something went wrong when the distributor recut the film without the director’s input after it showed at Sundance. In any case, Thin Ice feels designed to be “as derivative and second-rate as possible.” In that, at least, it succeeds.