Twelve Days of Christmas Review #2: The Ice Harvest (2005)

Charlie’s Christmas wish?  Not getting iced.

Subgenre:  Comedy

Summary:  Bad weather forces a mob lawyer to spend one last night in Wichita before he absconds with two million dollars in stolen cash.

Review:  Charlie Arglist, a lawyer for the local mob, has just stolen a suitcase full of cash from his employer.  Along with his shady friend Vic, he plans to take the money and run – he just has to make it through Christmas Eve first.  That seems easy enough at first, but Charlie can’t shake the feeling that his boss is on to him, and also must deal with his drunken friend Pete.

The Ice Harvest is a strange mix of film noir, black comedy, and Christmas movie, but oddly enough, the blend of genres works.  Cusack is perfectly cast as the dishonest-but-likable Charlie, and Billy Bob Thornton is excellent as his sociopathic partner in crime.  But it’s Oliver Platt who steals the movie as Charlie’s shit-faced trainwreck of a pal, getting big laughs in every scene he’s in.

Though The Ice Harvest’s tone is by and large pitch-black, like Charlie, it does have a heart.  It espouses the idea that good things do happen on Christmas, even if it takes a few dead bodies to get there.

The Verdict:  It’s not perfect, but The Ice Harvest is a thoroughly enjoyable Yuletide noir.  I give it seven Christmas Eve criminals out of ten.

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