There’s something about Scandinavia that we don’t see past the quaint cities and stunning snow-capped mountain slopes. That or maybe the snow leads to some very inspiring work that Nordic Noir is a genre of its own. The Snowman is an adaptation of the 7th installment in a detective series about Harry Hole.
Unfortunately though, despite the talented actors and crew behind it, something went very wrong along the way that you’re left with a dull sloppy mess that vaguely resembles a movie.
The Snowman is an introduction to Harry Hole, a stereotypical fucked up genius. The script never shows the genius side however and just points out how much of a mess he is – a mopey alcoholic shitty father – and the rest of the movie follows suit.
The incoherent story is a blend of subplots that go nowhere, half-assed detective work, and a supernatural villain. You’d have to sit through pointless intrigue – including Val Kilmer with botched audio sync – and a case with no suspects and witnesses. Hole keeps conveniently stumbling upon clues, and yet couldn’t see the evidence in the first crime scene that would’ve solved everything.
Micheal Fassbender looks completely uninterested here. In fairness, it makes sense because Harry Hole doesn’t seem to give a fuck as he grumpily goes through the motions of working on a case.
The rest of the characters are also stereotypes, but at least their performance breaks the dullness of it all. Rebecca Ferguson carries the movie as she lugs around some police device so bulky she had to clear a bookshelf for it. Even though Charlotte Gainsbourg is used in a cringey sex scene and J.K. Simmons’ accent would make Norwegians grimace, they’re making more effort than the rest of the movie.
The Snowman has no character development, mystery, suspense, and payoff. The movie has an interesting trailer that makes you curious about the snowman. None of that makes it into the film and the snowmen look silly.
The film finally ends when Hole is given the final clue after mucking around. The worse part is, the movie has the audacity to set-up a sequel.
There’s a fittingly bleak atmospheric cinematography here that tells us that the movie has an idea of what it’s supposed to do. Unfortunately, the execution of it, from the script to the editing, is all too much of a mess. This is a movie where a man throws a woman to the ground and pins her body with his full weight to stage an emotional moment. It has a serial killer who magically doesn’t leave tracks on the snow.
Director Tomas Alfredson defended the movie after it was released. Still, when 10-15% percent of the script wasn’t shot and parts of the story are still missing despite reshoots, someone clearly made a mistake.
Unfortunately whatever attempts made to salvage this disaster remained futile.
Book adaptations more often miss the mark, and sometimes this is not the fault of the filmmakers behind it. The Snowman commits a much worse crime – wasting your time by not making any sense.
The Snowman is to crime thrillers as what The Room is to romantic dramas - pointless, nonsensical, and laughable.