What filmmaker Jill Sprecher made was a movie called The Convincer that ran about 113 minutes. What the producers and distributor have given us is a recut, re-scored 93 minute movie with outtakes stuck into it called Thin Ice, which comes across as something of a Fargo knock-off. It almost completely rises or falls on the twists and turns of its plot. Fortunately, these are engaging enough to support the movie’s running time. Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear) is a remarkably dishonest insurance salesman with a gambling problem, an estranged wife (Lea Thompson), and the firm (yet utterly unfounded) belief that he’s smarter than everyone else. His entire life is given over to making “the score” — any score — by taking advantage of anyone not as bright as himself, or, in other words, anyone. The only thing that gets in his way is his tendency to succumb to any temptation that crosses his path, though he succumbs to these in the certain knowledge that he’s smart enough to turn them to his advantage. Through a series of events, he steals a potential sale from one of his own agents, Bob Egan (David Harbour). It’s a policy on the home of a slightly addled old farmer, Gorvy Hauer (Alan Arkin), and it turns out to come with a bonus in the form a valuable violin Mickey decides to appropriate. And this is where the real trouble starts, including, but not limited to, murder, blackmail, and a certifiably insane locksmith (Billy Crudup) with a criminal past. And more than that I won’t say about the plot, except to note that every time it seems things can’t possibly get worse for Mickey, they do. It’s convoluted and clever, and on that score it works quite nicely and benefits from good casting.
Director: Jill Sprecher
Writer: Jill Sprecher and Karen Sprecher
Producer: Mary Frances Budig, Elizabeth Redleaf and Christine Kunewa Walker
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour, Lea Thompson, Bob Balaban, Michelle Arthur, Michelle Hutchison, Sue Scott and Chris Carlson