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REVIEW: The Snowman

Universal Pictures
Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole in "The Snowman."
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WRITER'S NOTE: There is going to be a high level of ice/snow/cold puns throughout and if you’re a certain type of person that can’t handle that, I advise you to chill out and carry on.

Cold weather depicted in film can easily become a character in of itself. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a prime example of a season being more than a setting and becoming integral to how the characters feel and experience the actions in the film. The Snowman uses winter in integral ways in its plot. Just not in the ways one might think.

Following a serial killer of women (like Dragon Tattoo) who leaves a snowman at the scene of every killing (unlike Dragon Tattoo), it obviously couldn’t work in fall. No one would be stuck in their tracks by seeing a pile of leaves left at a crime scene. Additionally, no one is frightened by a snowman because… it’s a snowman. Nothing the film tries to create with its setting works or becomes useful. This is daunting, as this movie comes from the same director of Let The Right One In. The snow fell in that film as slow as lines were delivered; showcasing how the bitter atmosphere can infect everyone and everything within a scene in the best way.

A drunk and chain-smoking detective by the name of Harry Hole (Google it, I’m not lying) played by Michael Fassbender, gets thrown on this Snowman killer case that involves him in drastic ways that he is uncertain. A fresh recruit (Rebecca Ferguson) tags along to help him with the investigation, but her only expertise seems to be filming incidents with her giant suitcase fitted with a non-conspicuous camera. It’s a fairly straightforward mystery, outfitted with usual heavy contrasted scenes and a high usage of tense of strings in its score to attempt to trick the audience into thinking it’s a sinister and bleak dive into the psyche of a disturbed serial killer. But we don’t. We get nothing from everyone involved.

This plot is a mess that continues to snowball into more exposition, paper-thin characters and a nonsensical ending that continues to baffle me the more I mull it over — it doesn’t just baffle me, the director has said that 10-15% of the script was never filmed and it’s painfully noticeable.

Character’s motivations are utterly vacant and some characters exist for no reason. J.K. Simmons’ character has nothing of note to contribute to this story. Val Kilmer continues to be interesting enough to watch simply because it’s him but the horrible use of ADR on his voice made his appearance useless.

Fassbender’s character (I’m not saying Harry Hole again) seems to be a mentally wrecked person. He wakes up on park benches in the freezing cold, chain smokes and drinks every day. Yet we never get to know why or how this came about. The assumption could be that his girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg) left him and that’s what caused it, but again, we don’t know. Being left at arm’s length is a common trait for all the characters.

And poor Chloë Sevigny, she deserves better than this frigid film.

Uninventive and cliché, The Snowman is one of the worst films of the year. Every actor herein is clearly phoning it in as the director tries to craft a suave and intense thriller that hits the iceberg as soon as possible. The third act is a monumental mess that cannot be explained. It makes you fall through the ice and watches you as you drown, complacent to giving you no answers and no reason to continue.

Why would anyone try to make a thriller involving snowman when we already have two horror classics about a killer snowman? I wish I was reviewing Jack Frost and Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, but life isn’t always fair, kids.

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About the Author

Kevin Tudor

Born and raised in the mean streets of Yukon, Oklahoma, Kevin is currently majoring in...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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