Saturday, November 26, 2005

Movie: The Ice Harvest (2005)

No traveling. No shopping. No turkey. I’m in the midst of my best Thanksgiving weekend ever.

The cherry on the cake – oh yes, there was cake – is this adaptation of Scott Phillips’ novel, one of the most bracing pieces of crime fiction this decade. Director Harold Ramis, writers/producers Robert Benton and Richard Russo, and a first-rate cast nail the tone of ruthless melancholy that runs through the book.

I sense a new family tradition coming on. Every December 24, a lethal double bill of this movie and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. From now on, all my Christmases will be noir. (Although a double bill of this movie and Capote is sure to sound the death knell for Kansas tourism.)

America’s movie critics, muddleheaded nitwits that they are, have largely missed the boat on ICE HARVEST. The ones who have embraced it, like the New York Times’ Dave Kehr, seem to recognize that there’s something more than a quality film here. In the words of Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum:

Here’s a movie neither too big nor too small – just good. We need more of this size, this shape. Because, as THE ICE HARVEST rises, so rises the stock of the mid-size American movie.

So there’s your holiday challenge. If you’re a fan of skillful storytelling, of craft, of professionalism, get out there and support this one. Because they’re really not making them like this anymore.

Website Update: Links

The aforementioned Dave Kehr is added to the roll of honor, as is Chuck Tryon’s The Chutry Experiment. I’ve also updated the link to Ed Gorman’s Gormania, so you’ll miss nary a word of his wisdom.