Director: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons
Run Time: 119 mins
Based on Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø’s hit novel and bolstered by a strong director and all-star cast, I found a lot to like in The Snowman despite universally poor reviews. It requires one to totally suspend all manner of disbelief – plot holes and plot threads that end up being frustratingly redundant are aplenty and the killer’s (unfortunately easy to guess) motives are laughable. It also requires one to overlook a couple of terrible performances from Charlotte Gainsbourg (in particular a laughable sex scene where she merely gyrates on a character momentarily), Val Kilmer and Chloë Sevigny in a dual role. What is entertaining is watching how Michael Fassbender’s alcoholic and unorthodox Detective Harry Hole and his colleagues, including Rebecca Ferguson’s new recruit with a troubled past, attempt to solve a ludicrous case with the film’s overripe premise of a murderer who constructs snowmen as his calling card. The film is also laden with enticing Nordic imagery and some sweeping, atmospheric landscape shots by cinematographer Dion Beebe and an occasionally thoughtful score by Marco Beltrami.
There’s no questioning Tomas Alfredson’s credibility as a director, responsible for Let The Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Once the first wave of negative reviews began to surface, Alfredson claimed that approximately 10-15% wasn’t shot – this would account for some of the plot holes and it’s clear he’s tried to the best job he can with the resources he’s had. The film sets itself up for a sequel rather explicitly in its final scene which I’m sure will nark people off who have suffered through the film but I’d happily watch another film with Fassbender’s Detective again. There’s a hell of a lot wrong with The Snowman but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the sheer absurdity of it all.
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