The Snowman hits theatres this week after months of anticipation. Based on the Harold Hole novels by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø, the film explores a string of serial killings which always occur at snowfall in a race to stop the murderer before they strike again. So, is it any good?
I wanted to like this movie and so desperately wanted it to be good. The advertisements made it look so appealing, claiming it to be full of thrills and suspense. Unfortunately the only suspense I felt was wondering how long until the movie finished.
The film started off strong, with an interesting first twenty minutes, setting up some really tense moments. However, after the first act all suspense and tension goes away. Instead, director Tomas Alfredson gave us convoluted sub plots and unclear flashbacks destroying the flow of the movie. It honestly seems like two versions of the film were made, chopped up into pieces and taped together randomly. The film just doesn’t flow at all, leaving an empty and hollow journey to an anticlimactic and coincidental end. Honestly, the ending was so soft and underserving, there was no satisfaction in it at all. There are also substantial plot holes that expose gaping issues in the plot, particularly revolving around time and location.
While the structure is a shame, it is really the cast that is the most disappointing element of this film. There is an ensemble cast of quality actors. Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole pulls the same gawking face every scene showing little emotion and motivation, we don’t care for him at all. Rebecca Ferguson as Hole’s partner Katrine is possibly the best part of the movie, despite her motives and story being murky. The rest of the cast are wasted with wooden performances and little chemistry among costars. J.K. Simmons and Toby Jones essentially do cameos, and Val Kilmer is almost unintelligible. Seriously what happened to Val, he looks terrible.
There were two positives about the movie overall. The first was the music, there were beautiful Norwegian strings playing over many scenes giving the movie a somber feel. But when the movie needed suspense we got short, sharp and low piano notes slowly building in a crescendo. Think of the Halloween theme music. When this music started playing it was the only time any suspense was felt, it’s just a shame it was undercut by what was being shown on screen.
The other major positive in the movie is the cinematography. We get to see some beautiful landscapes and areas of Norway, from majestic buildings to serene mountains covered in snow. The images are clear and crisp and just beautiful to see on the big screen. It’s amazing how the differences in industrial, rural and urban areas still managed to look special. It certainly made me want to go to Norway.
While there were some positives about the movie, it certainly isn’t enough to save it from clunky writing, forgettable characters and lifeless performances. In all honesty, what is shown in the trailers is the main crux of the movie, just add ten minutes between each take. I never want to fall asleep in movies but after the first twenty minutes I wanted to. Ultimately this movie couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Apparently the novel is terrifying, but there is definitely no thrills to be had here. The third act feels more like the ending the Skyfall rather than a thriller. The film definitely had potential, but too many sub plots and irrelevant focal points were included. Any hopes for a franchise will likely melt away with this movie.
The Snowman hits Australian theatres October 19. Let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments on our Facebook page.