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  • Writer's pictureHunter Friesen

"The Snowman" Review

The Snowman is a film that suffers the same fate as All the King’s Men and Gangster Squad, projects where everyone involved has done great work, but the finished product ends up being terrible. A dull plot, iffy acting, and some of the worst editing ever seen makes The Snowman fail on every level of being interesting and worthwhile to watch.

The plot follows the same structure you would see on any TV crime procedural. There's been a string of unexpected murders taking place in Norway and detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) has been dragged in to solve the case. He's a mopey drunk that's trying to get his life back together after leaving his longtime girlfriend and her son. Along comes headstrong detective Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) who's been transferred in for unknown reasons. Their investigation soon leads them to cross paths with the charismatic Arve Stop (J.K. Simmons), who we learn has a personal connection Bratt.

The story is all very basic and never adds anything new or remotely interesting to the detective thriller genre. By the time the killer is revealed I had already given up and didn't care what happened next. The dreadful editing also makes the film overly confusing as to what is happening and how it all connects together. Shots are stringed together for no clear reason and some scenes feel like they were added for no purpose other than to pad the runtime Watching this felt like taking a test that is hard only because the questions are worded horribly.

Director Tomas Alfredson has already proven himself with the 2011 spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy so it's a huge letdown to see him fail so miserably here. While Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is also poorly edited and unnecessarily confusing, it is at least interesting to watch how the mystery would unfold over time.

The cinematography is wildly inconsistent between being actually good and horribly bad. You get to see some beautiful shots of the frozen Norway landscape, but you are also forced to watch some amateur camera work done during important scenes that are key to the overall plot. Dion Beebe should switch to tourist videos since he would be great in that line of work.

The only salvageable performance here is Michael Fassbender as he tries really hard to carry the film by himself. However, his character is written so poorly that it doesn't mean anything in the end. Rebecca Ferguson is just alright, but she also suffers from having her character being poorly written. J.K. Simmons is pretty forgettable, but you won't forget the accent he uses. I won't even talk in depth about Val Wilmer and Toby Jones since they are completely wasted in their minuscule roles, each getting three scenes that total about two and a half minutes of screen time.

Lifeless and uneventful, The Snowman is a poor attempt to adapt the successful and acclaimed series by Jo Nesbø. Just like the end of a real snowman’s life, this film is a wet and sloshy mess that has no redeemable features to warrant its existence.


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