I’m going to say it upfront, just in the event you don’t read any further into my review – please do not go and see The Snowman.
There are more plot holes in this movie than in the buttons on a snowman. We’re asked to believe that Norway (with its fantastically low crime rates) is currently experiencing a serial killer’s spree. The suspect is leaving angry looking snowmen behind when he abducts and kills women. So far, so clichéd – but it gets so much worse than that. The protagonist is a drunk, ageing detective who happens upon the case when a new starter offers him a ride home if he doesn’t mind her stopping off to interview the most recent victim’s spouse. The movie continues like this for two hours. The audience is expected to believe in the unbelievable when the detective in question finds a dead body in acres of land instantly and can travel the length of Norway in seconds. It’s the kind of sloppy filmmaking that gives filmmaking a bad name.
Not only is the plot very loosely bound together, but the whole thing overly relies on what is essentially a chunky iPad. The EviSync is a piece of kit offered to everyone in the police department in question. It opens with a touch of your finger print, can record witness interviews, allows you to take pictures and upload these files to the ‘police cloud’. Now you see why I say it’s just a chunky iPad. The extent to which the movie relies on this bizarre piece of kit to keep the story ‘moving’ along is, quite frankly, bizarre.
To make matters even worse, pretty much every actor in the movie gives an uneven to bad performance. Fassbender himself isn’t given the best material to work with and his performance is one of the worst in the entire thing. He seems to drag his feet from scene to scene, stumbling upon clues, never really coming to life and putting anything into his performance. It’s almost like he knew that the movie was going to be trash and just decided that it was better not to try. Val Kilmer, who plays the newbie cop’s dad in flashbacks, is so badly dubbed it’s as if he’s speaking another language and the English is dubbed over it for the benefit of the audience. No one actor throughout the entire feature presents themselves in a way that makes me think they deserve work beyond The Snowman.
All that said, the actors are not to blame for this car crash of a movie. The script and direction are entirely devoid of tension and a general feeling of threat. When you watch a masterpiece thriller (think Silence of The Lambs), you should go home, go to bed and go to work thinking about it for weeks. I slept soundly when I got home from seeing the movie – in fact, I had forgotten that I was meant to feel any threat at all. There’s no slow build, no effort to make the audience feel any sort of nervousness. Even the way in which the signature snowmen are shot feels off, like a snowman expo in a shopping centre as opposed to a dangerous and terrifying serial killer signature. The unnecessary and gratuitous gore that is peppered throughout the movie serves little purpose and actively combat any feeling of fear. Probably because the CGI is so bad you can spot it a mile away.
The soundtrack (if you can call it that) is essentially just two songs on repeat throughout the movie. It’s a lazy attempt at clawing into the viewers mind through repetition. It doesn’t work. It left me feeling as though the budget was cut and they couldn’t afford any additional music. My friends and I ended up singing and dancing to the song on the way out which is likely not the impact that director Tomas Alfredson was aiming for.
The only redeeming aspect of The Snowman (If you can even call it that), is the well shot and very beautiful Norwegian landscapes that are peppered throughout the movie. They really are breath-taking. Even so, if I could have cut these shots out to shorten the movie and get home 15 minutes earlier I would have done so in an instant.