Film Review: THE SNOWMAN is A Pile of Unsatisying Slush

October 20, 2017

 

Courtesy of Universal Pictures 

 

So I'm watching the new thriller "The Snowman," we've just reached the hour mark and the plot is all over the place, the characters motives make no sense, we don't have a protagonist worth rooting for, and I don't know where things could be heading. Watching "The Snowman" is like viewing the film in the lens of an editor, desperately trying his best to save a bad movie.

This movie is a jumbled mess.

Picture this: you've just been given a puzzle, you've got two hours to finish it, except you aren't given all the pieces, and what remains is incomplete. That's what "The Snowman" feels like. For as artsy and ambitious thrillers tend to be, I can't imagine a world where Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson and JK Simmons have been so wasted in a film, yet, here we are.

What makes this even more confusing is the fact, Martin Scorsese's name is plastered as Executive Producer. Fassbender (who made strides in "Alien: Covenant" but has suffered at the likes of "Assassin's Creed" and now this) plays the iconic literary character of Harry Hole. A detective with his own fair share of issues. The writers would say 'issues" but I'd call them "cliches." For example, the man's an alcoholic and seems to forget anything that resembles family. He lives by the code, and that code puts him on the case of a serial killer that stalks unsuspecting mothers, and then leaves a signature trademark behind each time, a snowman with an awkward face.

Hole gets teamed up with Katrine Bratt (Ferguson) a special agent with her own agenda, except, if backed into a corner, I couldn't tell you what she contributes to the movie, other than a token sidekick with a backstory that only arrives when convenient to do so. As the suspect list grows, Hole and Bratt are hot on the trail, but the film's pieced together so poorly you'd think it skipped an entire scene of exposition. Speaking of useless characters, Chloe Sevigny, plays twins (that's right, twins) - except, one bites the dust, only to have the other show up for, maybe, three minutes. Another talented actress, wasted. In addition, Val Kilmer looks unrecognizable as a side character that exists in an alternative timeline that, somehow, sets up the events of the future (I don't think I could tell you how), and Toby Jones has maybe one scene of actual screentime.

Director Tomas Alfredson, the director of such acclaimed films like "Let The Right One In" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," somehow manages to present a thriller with bold ideas, but doesn't have much going on. It lacks the gritty attitude of such hits like "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and never makes Fassbender's character redeemable (save for the last second, shameless indication of a potential sequel, which, judging by this dud, could use a fresh pair of eyes.)

The idea of "The Snowman" is actually fairly unique in the same vein as, say, the Zodiac killer. Sadly, this is a prime example of studio that tampered to much with the final product, that, by the end, was beyond the point of no return. Instead of flourishing like the trailers insisted, "The Snowman" melts into a pile of unsatisfying slush, leaving me to think the filmmakers should've kept this one on ice. D 

 

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