Capsule Movie Review – Thin Ice (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
SPOILER WARNING It’s impossible to explain why Thin Ice is a bad movie without revealing the ending. Fair warning. END SPOILER WARNING
Jill and Karen Sprecher’s Thin Ice starts off as a black comedy about an insurance salesman (Greg Kinnear) who sees easy money in stealing an antique violin from an old man (Alan Arkin) living in an isolated farmhouse. The tone turns serious when a nosy neighbor and a homicidal locksmith (Billy Crudup) enter the picture. Then with five minutes to go, everything we’ve seen is revealed in “what really happened” voiceover narration as an elaborate insurance scam with the salesman in the part of patsy. To give it its due, the big reveal takes the edge off one of the film’s main weaknesses. Of all the characters of any significance, only the salesman, his estranged wife, and (arguably) his secretary are at all believable; but then, turns out the rest of them are in on the con. Unfortunately the cure proves worse than the disease. The plot of Thin Ice is riddled with holes from start to finish. When it was a neo-noir/black comedy- in a word, Coenesque- the film’s weak plotting could be overlooked for the sake of the good parts; namely, talented actors making the most of colorful characters and the unusual wintry Wisconsin locale. A con game movie on the other hand lives or dies by its plot. When the con on the character doesn’t hold water, the con on the audience is nothing but a cheap trick.
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: Kinnear was great in the falling apart part of the story. It’s not the biggest plot hole but it really bugged me that he didn’t report his credit cards stolen.