Film Clip: Thin Ice

Rated 3.0

A sleazeball insurance agent (Greg Kinnear) hustles his way through life never playing straight with anyone—then he meets a senile old farmer (Alan Arkin) with a rare violin he doesn’t know the value of, and plots to rip the old fool off. Throw in a psycho locksmith (Billy Crudup), a sudden murder, and escalating blackmail, and the agent’s life gets worse than he ever imagined. The script by sisters Jill and Karen Sprecher (Jill also directed) is nicely unpredictable, and the spiraling black comedy yanks you along breathlessly, wondering where it’s all leading. Where it’s leading is so complicated that the Sprechers can only resolve it with too much here’s-what-happened narration, but the ride is pretty giddy up to then. Lea Thompson plays Kinnear’s estranged wife, Bob Balaban the violin’s appraiser. J.L.