The Ice Harvest

DVD Reviews | Mar 16th, 2006

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Starring John Cusack, Connie Nelsen, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Platt, Randy Quaid
Written By: Robert Benton, Richard Russo
Directed By: Harold Ramis
Studio: Universal
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Usually when people classify a movie as a dark comedy, it means there’s a whole lot of people that die. Well I guess that can be said for the Ice Harvest. I don’t know if this movie was even a comedy to me, it might have had a few funny lines and performances, but this isn’t a comedy. Whatever the genre this film is filed under, it could have been better.

Ice Harvest is about a lawyer named Charlie (John Cusack) and his partner in crime, Vic (Billy Bob Thornton) who end up embellishing 2 million from a mob boss named Bill Guerrard. They thought it was the perfect crime and they had the money in their hands but then everything turns to crap. The weather has stranded them in Wichita, and there is a hitman hot of their tracks. In order to keep the money and stay alive, they have to survive the storm, a hitman, the mafia and more importantly, themselves.

Lately, I like the films Billy Bob has been doing and I’m always a John Cusack fan. I like Cusack when he’s in darker films and not in romantic comedies. Grosse Pointe Blank is by far my favorite John Cusack movie and hope they do a sequel one of these days. He seemed like he was in that rut for awhile with the romantic comedies but luckily has gone out of that with Runaway Jury, Identity, and now the Ice Harvest. This definitely was a different type of movie that Harold Ramis usually does and that’s a welcomed change. I just don’t know what to think of this movie after seeing it for the first time. It was dark, it had a few funny things in the movie, and the acting was okay. I think Oliver Platt stole the movie..again. He seems to steal movies really well with his hilarious acting & lines. But as far as the story is concerned, I think the plot was a little confusing and hard to follow at times. It definitely had a Fargo feel to it though. I just think the movie was very clich, with plot twists that you could see a mile away. Not very original and sort of forgettable to be honest with you.

Extras included on the DVD are some alternate endings, a Billy Bob outtake, some making-of featurettes and commentary with director Harold Ramis. Since I never saw the movie before, I wanted to watch the movie commentary-free so I didn’t listen to Ramis. The alternate endings were interesting because Platt isn’t with Cusack, and Charlie ends up getting killed? I think he dies because he’s lying in his blood after getting run over by the Winnebago, but then is seen walking through the field and fades away. I actually thought that was going to happen when the movie was ending, that he was going to get killed by some random thing. It just felt right after all the crap that went on during the movie. But I think they went out on a wimpy note. The Billy Bob outtake is him doing the Sling blade impression and just riffing on that for a minute. The other featurettes were all right. Cracking the story is the writers sitting around discussing the story, the characters and all that fun stuff. Beneath the Harvest is the standard run of the mill feature that contains behind the scenes footage, interviews with the cast & crew. I liked watching the Ice Cracking featurette because I like to see how things are done on movies. Extras were okay I guess.

If you plan on renting or buying the Ice Harvest for a laughs, you will be disappointed. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t generally disappointed in this movie, because I was thinking it was more of a comedy than a thriller. I think if I went back and watched the movie again at a later date, I would enjoy it better because I would know what to expect from it. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just not very original.

Alternate Endings
Outtakes with Billy Bob Thornton
Cracking the Story
Beneath the Harvest
Ice Cracking: Analysis of a Scene
Audio Commentary with Director Harold Ramis

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: The scenes with Oliver Platt were funny, and the scene at the dock was good.
Rating: R
Running Time: 89 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: