Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) meets and marries the woman of his dreams, Deborah Pellicotti (Winona Ryder). Kuklinski claims to have worked for Disney, though it comes out much later that he was actually in the porn business. One night the tapes are not ready, and Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) and his crew comes calling. Kuklinski promises to have the tapes ready, and goes for a meeting with Demeo the next day where Demeo asks him to come and work for him after shutting down the porn business. He feels that Kuklinski is cold and efficient, and asks him to murder a homeless man as proof. Kuklinski does as he is told, and Demeo keeps the gun as evidence.
Kuklinski now works exclusively for Demeo, and is not to take jobs on the side. Kuklinski is happy with the arrangement, and becomes a renowned and respected assassin in his field. Kuklinksi and Deborah now have two children together, Betsy and Anabel (McKaley Miller). Kuklinksi gives his wife everything she has ever wanted and his daughters are in private Catholic school. Life seems to be going well for Kuklinski. However, trouble breeds on the horizon when Demeo has problems with one of his guys and when Kuklinski refuses to kill a seventeen-year-old girl at one of his jobs. Robert “Mr Freezy” Pronge (Chris Evans) tells Demeo that he had to sort out the girl, and ultimately the mob politics lead to Kuklinski becoming unemployed. He is not allowed to take jobs on the side but desperate to stay in the game, he is good at what he does.
Kuklinksi becomes bitter and increasingly angry, scaring his wife and children. He needs to get back into the game or he will lose his mind. He visits his brother who makes the ominous prediction that Kuklinski will end up in prison just like him, with his family writing him off completely. Kuklinski still works very hard to keep his personal and his professional life separate, but since being laid off caution is thrown in the wind. He notices the need to get back to work in fear of scaring his family off, which means the world to him. Striking a deal with Mr Freezy, Kuklinski is now the assassin behind the veil, the person no one knows about. Freezy pulls the jobs, Kuklinski executes the targets, and they both get paid. Together they will then cut up the victim and freeze them, making it impossible for authorities to determine time of death. It goes without say that Demeo cannot know that Kuklinski is working with Mr Freezy. Slowly but surely though people start talking, and Demeo starts asking questions, and just like that Kuklinski’s perfectly created façade starts to crack, and he works hard to pull it all together again and remain in control.
Will Demeo figure out that Kuklinski is working with Mr Freezy, despite his strict ban on working with others? Will Kuklinski be able to keep his family life and business life separated, as much as he wants to? Will his wife and children remain clueless as to his daily activities? Will his past deeds eventually catch up to him?
Michael Shannon was completely amazing to watch, and is probably what saved this movie in the long run. Not that it was bad; there were just a few issues with it. I also enjoyed Chris Evans, his character gave me a bit of a sadistic giggle, though there is really nothing that should actually be amusing in here, you can’t help but find the moments where it happens. Michael Shannon played the family man role down pat, and got the icy and sinister side of his character down too. Ray Liotta was decent for what he did, but there were moments where it simply just didn’t work. The style that the film was shot in was good for what it portrayed. The plot was laid out just fine, and it was not an issue following what happened. However, I really feel that more effort could have gone into wrapping the film up at the end; it left a lot to be desired. It just felt like a bit of a missed opportunity for me, which was really a pity seeing as the cast was fine, and the story was interesting.