The Ice King

James Erskine's documentary tells the story of John Curry, the first openly gay Olympian and one of the greatest figure skaters of all time

Film Review by Ross McIndoe | 14 Feb 2018
  • The Ice King
Film title: The Ice King
Director: James Erskine
Starring: John Curry
Release date: 23 Feb
Certificate: 12A

John Curry revolutionised ice skating, bringing artistry and grace to the sport in a way never before witnessed. He also brought Olympic gold home to a Britain which still criminalised his sexuality. The Ice King is the story of a man who was told his way of living, loving and skating was wrong; how he grafted to overturn all that was stacked against him; and what that cost him.

Cutting away here and there to mark John’s story with old photographs and letters, the vast majority of the film is footage of Curry on the ice. As audio of interviews with the skater, his family, friends and colleagues tell the details of his story, the camera remains fixed on the images of him alone on his frozen canvas, working tirelessly to perfect his art.

James Erskine’s uncomplicated approach is the reverse of the complex life it documents, but the film's simplicity matches its spirit. Curry's punishing craft aspired after something quietly elegant, which, in its understated, delicate approach to its incredible story, The Ice King realises. 

Released by Dogwoof