"The Snowman" [Review]

Image result for the snowman 600x200
Image result for the snowman 600x200

By Vjekoslav Rosandić

"The Snowman" should have been a slam dunk... Based on a popular series of detective novels, the film is directed by Tomas Alfredson, whose previous credits include the wonderful "Let the Right One in" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." This is a guy who knows how to develop a chilly story, full of mood and creepy atmosphere. It stars Michael Fassbender in the lead role and in this humble reviewer's opinion, Fassbender is the best actor in Hollywood right now. The supporting cast is nothing to sneeze at either: Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, Toby Jones... It's executive produced by Martin Scorsese.  This paragraph is nothing but credits for a reason: to make a point that this film should have been an instant classic. What it ended up becoming is the worst thriller I've seen in years..

Harry Hole (Fassbender) is a detective in the Oslo Police Department who is known as a genius at cracking cases that seem extremely difficult to crack. He's also a chain smoking alcoholic, barely I’m control of his life. It seems that the only calming element he has are his ex-girlfriend (Gainsbourg) and her son. Harry stumbles upon a case of a serial killer who leaves snowmen at the scenes of his crimes. Harry is joined by a young detective (Ferguson) who has a past connected to the snowman murders...

If you haven’t seen the movie and you’re reading this review, the synopsis may sound interesting to you. Unfortunately, this is a very bad movie and the problems are many.

First of all, as much as I love Fassbender, he just doesn’t work here. I understand the character is supposed to be a drunk, but he just seems bored, like he knows he's in a turd. He really needs to step up his game, because between this, Assassin’s Creed and The Light Between Oceans, he's starting to lose a lot of good will.

Rebecca Ferguson is one of my favourite up and coming actresses (she stole Mission: Impossible from under Tom Cruise’s nose), but she’s got nothing to do here. The screenplay tries to give her an interesting, dramatic backstory, but it’s buried under a ton of other side characters and sub plots, and the way she is dealt with in the end is very unsatisfactory.

J.K. Simmons is another amazing actor who gets nothing to do (See a pattern here?) His character appears to have a possibly interesting back story, but it’s just dropped and Simmons is out of the movie almost as quickly as he enters it.

But the most baffling element in front of the camera is Val Kilmer. It's hard to describe what exactly he's doing... You just have to see it to believe it. It's the weirdest performance I've seen in ages. Oh yeah, Toby Jones is in the movie for... Some... Reason.

As bad as all these elements are, the biggest culprit is director Tomas Alfredson, who seems way over his head here. His pacing is sloppy, he doesn’t know how to create palpable tension and he doesn’t let any of his side characters and sub plot’s breathe properly. When the most tension filled aspect of your movie is whether Oslo is going to host a winter sporting event and not the murders, you really have to re-think your story. The solution to the story is one of stupid coincidence and will have you rolling your eyes. And this is another one of those thrillers where the killer has a tragic childhood backstory which explains why he’s doing what he's doing.

I hated The Snowman. I hated it for it’s sloppy storytelling, uninteresting characters, sub plot’s that go nowhere. But most of all, I hated it because of what it should have been. It should have been a modern classic, something to remember...

Such as it is, it will only be remembered as the first (and last) big screen adventure of Harry Hole [D]
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