Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear) has hit rock bottom. Mickey is one of those sneaky con-man/insurance salesman, who makes a living off of unsuspecting and gullible clients. But Mickey’s life has taken a turn for the worst. Jo Ann (Mickey’s wife) is tired of Mickey’s lies, so she kicks him out of the house. Mickey is having a hard time finding clients, past due bills continue to pile up, and Mickey desperately needs money. Mickey is struggling, but Gorvy Hauer (Alan Arkin) could be his ticket to freedom.
Gorvy is Mickey’s new client. He’s an innocent old man, and Mickey eventually suckers him into buying some insurance for his TV. But closing the deal isn’t Mickey’s main priority. Gorvy is the owner of a valuable violin, and Mickey plans to steal it. Mickey really needs the money, and pawning the violin could solve all of his problems. Mickey can be a real scumbag, but he eventually earns Gorvy’s trust. Mickey waits for the perfect opportunity, and he gets some help from the man, who installed Gorvy’s alaram system. Randy (Billy Crudup) installed the alarm. He knows the code, and Randy can disarm the system, and Mickey decides to blackmail him for some help. Mickey almost escapes with the valuable violin, but Gorvy’s friendly neighbor shows up. He instantly suspects something fishy. The friendly neighbor immediately picks up a phone, but as he tries to call the police, Randy freaks out, and he bashes his head in with a hammer.
The friendly neighbor is dead, and Mickey must help Randy dispose of the body. Randy is an ex-con, he doesn’t want to go back to jail, but if he does, he promises to take Mickey with him. Mickey tries to fix his relationship with Jo Ann (Lea Thompson), but at the same time, he must work with Randy to cover up the murder, and the stolen violin doesn’t help his messy and complicated situation.
I was ready to give up on this film at first, and I HATED the first fifteen minutes. Thin Ice starts out very slow, but everything really picked up, as the story progressed, and the constant twists and turns did hook me in.
Thin Ice can feel so ordinary most of the time. The story takes place in a small and simple Wisconsin town, the characters are just struggling Average Joes, who are trying to make a living, and the wintertime atmosphere of Wisconsin always feels so calm and peaceful. But the excellent screenplay and the very solid performances from the entire cast did bring life to Thin Ice. These elements really did enhance Thin Ice’s simplistic setting, and the Sprecher sisters (Jill andand Karen) deserve a lot of credit for the writing, because the screenplay is just superb.
The acting in this film is outstanding, and as usual, the Back To The Future fan inside of me marked out for any appearance from Lea Thompson, but Greg Kinnear was fantastic as the lead man. The Mickey Prohaska character is a scumbag. There’s no doubt about it. Mickey is a sneaky con-man, and he targets weak-minded people, because he sees them as easy targets. But at times, I could feel for Mickey. He was just a desperate guy, who wanted a second chance, and he was stuck in an impossible situation with no escape. Mickey was drowning in debt, and his wife hated him. Mickey’s troubles were caused by his own foolish mistakes, and he really did burn the bridge with his wife, but I still wanted to feel sympathy for this poor sap sometimes, and Kinnear was very convicting.
And I can’t forget about Billy Crudup. Crudup was hilarious, and his energetic performance did provide the majority of laughs here. Randy was this angry ex-con, who could snap at any moment, and he was a nervous wreck throughout this film. As far as the acting goes, the rest of the cast really did pull their weight, but Crudup’s performance was the highlight of this film.
Thin Ice starts out slow, but I was hooked in, as the story began to evolve. The humor is enjoyable, and the incredible jaw-dropping twist towards the end is just great. The big twist for this film did feel genuinely shocking, because I really didn’t see it coming, and the big surprise did help raise this score for me. Thin Ice is a low budget film, and besides Kinnear, this film really doesn’t have any recognizable mainstream actors or actresses. Thin Ice will fly underneath the radar this year, but I really did enjoy this film, and I’m happy I took a chance on this one.
Final Rating: 8/10