Thom Best, a cinematographer and TV director who cut his teeth on "Queer As Folk" and Ginger Snaps, makes his feature film directorial debut with the ensemble drama Ice Men, a sort of ersatz Big Chill only with sexually confused and repressed guys spending an alcohol-fueled weekend in the woods in the place of morose baby boomers reminiscing during a classmate's funeral. Penned by Michael MacLennan, Ice Men is a bit thin, but for fans of well-drawn character studies, may warrant some attention.
Vaughn (Martin Cummings), bummed about his recent break-up, invites his brother Trevor (Ian Stacey) and best friends Bryan (David Hewlett), Steve (James Thomas) and Jon (Greg Spottiswood) into the snowed under Canadian wilderness for a hunting weekend at his dearly departed father's cabin. As the five men unwind with long talks, copious amounts of booze and recreational sports (ice hockey and ice fishing), their bond is strengthened – only to be threatened when some unexpected visitors arrive, adding further tension to an already somewhat strained weekend.
Ice Men boasts a charismatic ensemble and some characters worth spending time with, but ultimately MacLennan's story is a little too thin to really merit close examination – the gorgeous snow-filled landscapes and occasional flashes of ingenuity aren't quite enough to surmount the heavy reliance upon cliche and admittedly unoriginal plot.
Presented in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, Ice Men exhibits a few moments of digital artifacting and video noise, but for the most part, this is a stable, if unremarkable, image.
Dolby 2.0 stereo is all that's on board – albeit a surprisingly punchy stereo track. The occasional rock music has great presence, as does the dialogue and score. There's no distortion or drop-out; a pretty solid stereo effort.
The film's theatrical trailer is the lone supplement.
Ice Men is a pleasant diversion but not much more – director Thom Best acquits himself well, as does the charismatic cast, but the heavy reliance upon cliche and other indie film tropes makes the film less interesting than it should be. Rent it.