In a weekend where Geostorm and Boo 2! are released, the screened (for critics) movie was The Snowman. This means the jury is still out on what is the worst new release of the weekend. I pity any jury that has to sit through these three flicks.
In The Snowman, we burrow into the life of lackluster detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender). He is a severe alcoholic, who was once apparently a great cop, but now drifts through the tail-end of his policing career. However, his quiet and pathetic life changes when several women go missing and Hole receives a letter from the mysterious killer. (Think Zodiac, but instead of sending letters with code, the killer likes to take his time to build midget snowmen near the scene of the crime.)
Look, I’m all for campy serial killer thrillers reminiscent of those we saw in the ’90s. The Snowman wants to be one so badly, but it’s barely a movie. Rather, it’s a collection of spliced-together scenes. Director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) has even admitted that they didn’t shoot around 15% of the script and didn’t notice what was missing until post-production. After viewing the flick, this is immediately clear. There are time jumps that feel like they’re attempting to be a clever way to tell the story, but they feel so oddly-placed that you feel like you’re watching a different movie.
Let’s talk about the cast of this movie. First off, Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Girl on the Train) is typically a shining light in even bad movies, but she is so wasted here as the young detective who has so much to prove, it makes her seem suspicious. It’s a shame because any movie with Ferguson and Fassbender leading it, should be unstoppable.
This movie doesn’t only allow its two leads to sleepwalk through it, but also boasts the most wasted cast of any movie this year. The Snowman has a roster of J.K. Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, David Dencik, and Chloe Sevigny (playing twins for some weird reason. Honestly, it makes no contextual sense). Then there’s Val Kilmer, who has clearly dealt with health issues over the past few years and seems unrecognizable. It’s not his performance that seems off, but his character’s story seems to be something they didn’t actually film.
You can’t help but feel that The Snowman would be far better off as a mediocre Netflix drama. The tracking shots and B-roll of a beautiful Oslo location give it an immediate mood, but maybe with more time to make us care about the mystery, this could have been a decent miniseries.
I can’t be bothered to look and see if this is adapted from a book series, though I’m sure it is. It’s almost wants “The Adventures of Harry Hole” to be a thing. Honestly, if the sequel is called exactly that, I will see it, and only for that reason.
The Snowman is a bad movie. None of the actors care about the work they’re doing. The director apparently didn’t have time to film what was needed. I’m honestly shocked this was a wide release and not just straight to Netflix. D