Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Tomas Alfredson
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dion Beebe
WRITERS: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughn, Søren Sveistrup
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami
“The Snowman” is a crime thriller that starts as though it might end up being a decent enough film. Soon, you begin to realize that this film is going nowhere and at the slowest pace possible. That simply sucks when you also realize that this film has a pretty impressive cast.
I’ll be honest, the only thing that I knew about this film going in is that it stars Michael Fassbender as Detective Harry Hole. I also learned that the movie is based on a series of books featuring the character that I’ve never read. All I can say is if those books are anything like this movie, then I now know I need to stay the hell away from that series.
In this movie, Harry is a drunk detective that has apparently seen some crazy stuff that the movie never bothers to tell us about. Eventually, he ends up getting onto a case that belongs to Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson). Someone is kidnapping women, chopping them to bits and leaving snowmen behind as a sort of calling card.
Harry also has a connection to the killer that is set up pretty early in the film, but he shrugs this off as he does most things in the movie. Anyway, I would love to tell you more about this terrifyingly bad movie, but let’s just get on with it already. The first thing that I’ll say is that the movie does have a healthy bit of talent behind it.
The movie was originally slated to be directed by Martin Scorsese, but he dropped out and remained on as a producer. The film ended up being directed by Tomas Alfredson, the same man behind “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”. The movie also has an impressive cast including Fassbender, Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones, James D’Arcy and Val Kilmer.
Before I go on, let’s talk about Kilmer for a bit. The actor is only featured in three scenes and has maybe about 10 lines of dialogue. Unfortunately, this was apparently filmed as he was still dealing with the effects of cancer and sadly, you can tell as they horribly re-dubbed all of the actor’s lines and made several weird edits to his scenes.
The butchering of this man’s role instead of simply recasting and reshooting the scenes with a more able actor exemplifies just how lazy the filmmakers were with this movie. The overall project feels like it is incomplete with unfinished or underdeveloped storylines. It is also the slowest film I’ve watched all year yet somehow, it is miraculously less then two hours.
From the behind-the-scenes credits, I can see how the movie attracted such a stellar cast. It must not have been long before this cast realized that something was rotten in the state of Denmark, though. Fassbender doesn’t even try to hide behind a semi-decent performance as he just fumbles from one scene to another as an actor that is just trying desperately to get through the shoot.
He’s not the only one, either, as none of this cast seems particularly happy to be in the movie. Most of them don’t even have much to do in the film anyway. Simmons, for example, plays a rich guy that appears to have a bigger role in the story, but it’s not long before his little subplot is completely ignored altogether and we never see him again.
By the time I got to the anticlimactic also seemingly incomplete ending, I realized that this is truly the worst film of the year. It gets extra points deducted for wasting all of the talent that was involved with it. Even though I made it through the whole thing, I really did want to walk out on this movie and that’s the first time I’ve been able to say that all year.