EW Movie Review: "Thin Ice"
Greg Kinnear stars as a wannabe con artist in the new indie drama "Thin Ice." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly magazine filed the following review.
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Greg Kinnear, with a duplicity as light as a whiffleball, has a gift for playing sleazebags that you can’t help but like. He stars in the new movie “Thin Ice,” a divertingly scuzzy little Midwest noir that’s in the genre of “Fargo” and “A Simple Plan.” The difference is that Kinnear’s character is, if possible, a few notches further down on the scale of desperation. He’s a lowly insurance agent, stuck in wintry Wisconsin, who fancies himself a con artist. But that’s paying himself too much of a compliment. He’s really just a loser who’s falling into a hole.
Battling a failed marriage and rising debts, Kinnear thinks he’s found an opportunity when he stumbles on a senile old farmer, played by Alan Arkin, who has a beat-up violin that may be worth $25,000. Kinnear decides to steal the instrument from him, which sounds easy enough, except that this is the sort of movie in which it’s hard to separate the hero’s criminal ineptitude from the bad luck that keeps foiling his plans. In this case, fate takes the form of a security systems installer played, with a hilarious short fuse, by Billy Crudup.
“Thin Ice” was directed and co-written by Jill Sprecher, who made a bit of a splash about 10 years ago with the indie hit “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing.” What’s enjoyable about her work here is the way she captures the deadpan horrific comedy of what can happen when ordinary people try to commit crimes.
“Thin Ice” sparkles with little casting strokes, like Lea Thompson as Kinnear’s estranged wife or Bob Balaban as an all-too-earnest violin maker. What holds the movie together, though, even through its rather farfetched final twist, is Greg Kinnear, an actor who’s fallen out of stardom, but who with the right role (as this movie makes clear) deserves to have it back.