A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
There's an explanation of the plot at the end of "Thin Ice," including flashbacks to key moments and shots explaining otherwise inexplicable matters. This explanation essentially builds a different movie out of the one we thought we just saw, and rather makes us want to see it again knowing what we now know. That's not complete consolation. "Thin Ice" could have been more coherent in the first place.
An ordinary life supplies room for only so many twists and turns. The life of Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear) is all too commodious. He's an insurance salesman in Kenosha, Wis., who drives a flashy Cadillac but is deep in debt and estranged from the wife (Lea Thompson) he expropriated money from. Since the insurance business requires much use of the telephone, he finds it dispiriting that most of his calls come from bill collectors.
We meet Mickey at an insurance convention where he lectures on how to strike up conversations. (Question to Mickey: How much do you charge for supplying audiences with such conversation openers as, "Do you have the correct time?") After his speech, trying out his own line in the hotel bar, he falls for a con so old that Nancy was pulling it on Sluggo.
Back in Kenosha, he calls on a possible client, a farmer named Gorvy Hauer, played by Alan Arkin as a man wandering in the fog of his own befuddlement. Gorvy needs insurance on his TV so he can call a guy to get it to work; Mickey observes that it's not plugged in, but signs him up anyway for a high-priced package. He assures Gorvy his house looks like it's worth $400,000; it looks to me as it had been stapled together from a house trailer and a couple of prefabricated sunrooms. While he's at the house, a violin appraiser (Bob Balaban) calls to offer Gorvy $25,000 for an old family violin. Mickey, a heartless bastard, immediately decides to steal the violin and sell it himself.