Imagine your favorite thriller with a twisted killer at the center. We all have one (at least). What makes it an effective experience? The performances? A plot that keeps you guessing, but doesn’t lean on conveniences or lose the thread? The wisdom that a measure of restraint often breeds more suspense than shocking visuals? Whether its one or all of those things you seek in a thriller, The Snowman won’t scratch the itch.
This adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s novel of the same name simply tries too hard, in every possible arena. We follow Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender, who deserves better) a legendary detective who is also an addict with a personal life in shambles. He needs a good case to keep him on the straight and narrow. One night when he bums a ride from a co-worker newly transferred in from another police department (Rebecca Ferguson, who also deserves better), he finds just such a case. Women in bad marriages with young children are being brutally murdered. The killer leaves a calling card in the form of a snowman. And oh, how handily the pieces fall into place from there.
The Snowman is probably quite a good novel. And it might have been quite a good move in more accomplished hands. But as is, it’s a minefield of baffling performances — Val Kilmer and the amazing Chloe Sevigny are directed into performances that are so odd they’re distracting — red herrings, loose ends and would-be twists. Beautiful scenery does much to make the lackluster goings on bearable, but the film also lapses into occasional bouts of gore and unimpressive effects that give everything a Final Destination vibe. But it’s 2017, not the era of such shoddy CGI that The Rock became this:
But you know, as bad as that CGI was, revisiting The Mummy Returns sounds vastly preferable to giving The Snowman a second effort in the name of clarity or overlooked brilliance. Make of that what you will.
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writer: Peter Straughan, Hossein Amini and Soren Sveistrup (screenplay by), Jo Nesbo (based on the novel by)
Runtime: 1h 59mins
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Main Image Credit: Jack English/Universal Studios