I've watched Diane Keaton in a variety of movies but for the most they have been light entertainment, well "On Thin Ice" is certainly not light entertainment with Keaton taking on a role of a widowed mum who ends up hooked on drugs. Unfortunately Keaton is all wrong for the movie, not because she can't do drama but because it makes the movie all about Keaton playing an addict rather than the character. And considering that this is based on a true story that makes it very wrong, it takes the focus away from the story which should be a hard hitting one.
Widowed mum of two Patsy McCartle (Diane Keaton - Marvin's Room) does what ever she can to keep going, working nights as a cleaner and a waitress during the day, counting the pennies and cutting coupons to get by but when she loses her waitressing job things get too tough. It is then that her friend Carrie (Lynda Boyd) persuades her to do some picking up and dropping off for local drug dealer Hopkins (Michael Rooker - Undisputed) as it pays well. Unfortunately Patsy gets hooked not just in the money but also on the drugs leading to her becoming a lousy mum and putting her boys in danger.
"On Thin Ice" which is known as "Breaking Through" in some countries is a movie of two halves. The first half feels like it is based on the true story as we watch the struggling Patsy doing what ever she can to survive and we get to appreciate that things are hard. We also appreciate that she ends up getting hooked on drugs after becoming a dealer and in doing so becoming a lousy mum although I can't say that Diane Keaton convinced me as a drug addicted mother.
The second half which I presume is still based on the true story plays out more like a work of fiction as we witness what happens when Patsy tries to quit. We get the cliche aspect as she struggles with quitting but we also get the drama when we witness how ruthless Hopkins can be whilst also seeing how it affects her boys. It feels manufactured and plays out like the second half of a crime movie rather than a true story.
The trouble with "On Thin Ice" is that it is dominated by Diane Keaton, not just by her performance but also the fact she is playing an unlikely role of a drug addict. Not only does Keaton fail to convince as a drug addicted mother but it all becomes about her and so there is no depth in character. We may have other characters such as Michael Rooker as the evil Hopkins and Lynda Boyd as her drug dealing friend but you are constantly distracted by Keaton and her performance.
What this all boils down to is that "On Thin Ice" has a powerful storyline and that storyline has some depth but unfortunately the casting of Diane Keaton is a hindrance.