Thanks in part to its budget, and also to Kramer's chosen no-nonsense aesthetic, Ice could be called an "ugly" film. But it's an honest kind of ugliness — you sense that there's no filter between Kramer and the audience. While it lurches toward a plot, the film has the raw, uninterrupted quality of seeing life unfold before your eyes... It feels simultaneously like a clear-eyed act of prophecy and a transmission from a distant planet.
Often compared with Godard's ALPHAVILLE for its futurism and tone, ICE is also something of an American counterpart to Peter Watkins' THE GLADIATORS or PUNISHMENT PARK. Like Watkins, Kramer's guerilla film style is ideally suited for the subject matter, and compounded with fluid and generally natural acting, one can sometimes mistake ICE for cinema verité.
One of Ice’s most powerful scenes depicts women sculpting clay pots, the camera lingering on their work, momentarily savoring the sensuality of hands on clay, before one of the sculptors nonchalantly fills them with illicit firearms. It’s a concise representation of what the filmmakers are after: art as a dangerous sort of container, the artist as smuggler.