One is veteran Harry (Michael Fassbender), a damaged anti-hero whose self-destructive habits include chain-smoking, getting blackout drunk, and outfit repeating. Although he does have some redeeming qualities: he’s great with kids and has a banging body despite his weakness for the bottle.
The other is young wunderkind Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson), who’d be a perfect candidate to star in a modernized Nancy Drew movie if she did more than look puzzled under banged wigs and puffy accent scarves.
So different in their approaches to the investigative process (and life), this odd couple might be even more mismatched than Booth and Brennan during the inaugural season of Bones (2005-17). But with a case this full of red herrings (Harry incessantly smokes cigarettes, just like the killer!) and general incomprehensibilities, sometimes it takes two minds to put a single one behind bars.
But what’s uncovered throughout The Snowman’s (2017) central investigation stirs us about as successfully as one of supporting player J.K. Simmons’ many ‘ello-guvnah-accented monologues.
Clearly, The Snowman intends to either be 2017’s answer to the sleek The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) or a throwback to grisly ‘90s serial killer movies a la Se7en (1995). But the film only materialistically compares to the previously mentioned works. It’s nothing more than an inane collection of thriller clichés that won’t admit that it’s as original as a feature-length version of a single-season CBS police procedural.
But how could it be anything other than unflinchingly self-serious, given the major star power both behind and in front of the camera? When a movie has this many big stars, has a great director like Tomas Alfredson at the helm, has an Oscar-nominated screenwriting team writing every scene, and has a critically-acclaimed, bestselling novel as the source, there’s no real reason The Snowman should be so abominable. So after the first 15 minutes establish that we’re not in for a good movie, we wonder what went so wrong.
According to Alfredson, the film’s inconsequentiality mostly has to do with studio pressure. Executives, figuring the movie had too much talent involved to fail, rushed the production — 15 percent of the screenplay was allegedly never shot — and allotted almost no time for editing. Whether such is true or simply a way for Alfredson to more sympathetically disown the feature isn’t definite. But what is definite is that The Snowman is a wasted opportunity — and for those willing to go to their local Regal to see it in theaters, a wasted $10. D-
1 Hr., 59 Mins.
The Snowman November 14, 2017
n this Oslo-set chiller where everyone speaks with a British accent, a serial killer, dubbed “The Snowman,” is on the prowl. Against a snowy backdrop, the sadistic brute specializes in the slaughtering of blond, pregnant 30-somethings with tumultuous love lives.
Given his elusiveness, it’ll take a true sleuthing artiste to track him down. But with outcomes so potentially deadly, the local crime squad picks not just one but two masters of detective work to help bring the killer to justice.
This review also appeared in The Daily.