John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Platt, Ned Bellamy, Mike Starr and Randy Quaid

Harold Ramis

Running Time:
88 mins

Out to buy on DVD 28/02/06 (Region 1)

"It's too late, we've already done it"

After years of working for Wichita crime boss Bill Guerrard (Quaid), Charlie Arglist (Cusack) and Vic Cavanaugh (Thornton) decide that enough is enough. Lawyer Charlie has come up with a plan to steal $2 million from his boss on Christmas Eve but after taking it all they have to do is act normally for the rest of the day before disappearing forever during the night. For Charlie however, this starts to prove extremely difficult.

Gathering together an excellent ensemble cast and a director that excels with comedy dramas and you would expect to have a hit on your hands but with 'The Ice Harvest' you would be sadly disappointed.

Based on the novel by Scott Phillips, all the ingredients were there for a classic low budget, character driven piece but unfortunately that isn't the case. Instead we have a drama without any drama and a comedy without any comedy. The film meanders along at an extremely slow pace, hollowing the Charlie character as he waits to get away with the stolen money.

More used to big Hollywood pictures, Harold Ramis usually writes and directs his own comedies but he has never really done anything like this before. While advancing from comedy to comedy-drama he has forgotten to bring the comedy with him. The film just doesn't have any real laughs in it, with only Oliver Platt's character trying to inject some comedy into the proceedings. Maybe the director should have adapted the novel himself.

John Cusack has always been a very watchable actor and as Charlie Arglist he creates another likeable character but he is absolutely nothing new to the character. Billy Bob Thornton isn't in the film enough to make as big an impact as he should have done as the devious Vic. Oliver Platt seems to be stuck playing the same character for the whole of his career. Connie Nielsen is as beautiful as ever but her character really has nothing to do and Randy Quaid is completely wasted as mob boss Bill Guerrard.

'The Ice Harvest' is a big disappointment. The lack of both effective comedy and drama make this a very average movie with nothing much to recommend it. It will just leave you feeling cold.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well.


Alternative Endings 1 & 2 (10.28 mins)
Watch the two more downbeat endings to the movie

Outtake with Billy Bob Thornton (1.31 mins)
Watch Billy Bob Thornton play one of his scenes as his character Karl Childers from 'Sling Blade'

Cracking the Story (17.02 mins)
Author Scott Phillips and screenwriters Robert Benton and Richard Russo talk about the novel and adapting it for the silver screen. The featurette sees the trio reveal the changes made from book to screen, highlighting the differences in time frame and the parts of the novel that are missing from the screenplay.

Beneath the Harvest (13.05 mins)
Director Harold Ramis, producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, cinematographer Alar Kavilo and stars John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen and Oliver Platt talk about bringing the novel to the silver screen. The group talk about the structure of the anti-Christmas movie and the noir-feel of the production. They also talk about the characters of the piece and what director Harold Ramis brings to the project.

Ice Cracking: Analysis of a Scene (6.17 mins)
Director Harold Ramis, producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, production designer Patriza Von Brandenstein and star Billy Bob Thornton talk about the key lake scene. Here we see how the scene was constructed and how the stuntmen and actors came together to create the scene.

Feature Commentary with director Harold Ramis
The man at the helm provides a decent single person commentary for the movie. He talks about moving into independent cinema and the difference between this and his previous bigger budget, Hollywood projects. He discusses the Chicago shoot, filling in for the Wichita setting and what the cast and crew brought to the production. This is a good commentary from a director who is trying to step into a new genre of filmmaking.

Watch previews of 'Jarhead', 'First Descent', 'Brick' and 'My Name is Earl'


Universal and Focus Pictures have done a good job with the DVD transfer of 'The Ice Harvest'. The commentary is worth a listen and the featurette offer a good insight into the films production. Fans of the film should be pleased.



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