The Snowman Film Review :
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In the year 2075, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, and they start writing histories of 21st century cinema, “The Snowman” will make a very excellent case study. Perhaps by that time sufficient evidence will have been gathered to explain just why a movie assembled by a group of mostly first-rate talents wound up such a soggy, slushy mess. I myself cannot quite figure it out.
Adapted from the bestselling mystery novel by Jø Nesbo, the movie stars Michael Fassbender as a Norwegian police detective with the much-already-remarked-upon name Harry Hole. Why they couldn’t have just called him Harry Chasm or Harry Abyss is beyond me. The movie begins with what turns out to be a flashback. The scene is shot with what appears to be a lilac petal dangling in front of the lens. In a large cabin in a snow-covered field, a man in a police car visits a young boy and his mother. And there the man administers a test to the boy, slapping the mother every time the kid gets a question wrong. Things go from bad to worse, and eventually a Volvo sinks into a lake, and a kid is left homeless. Cut to the present day, and Harry is sleeping off a drunk in a bus shelter. Heckuva way for a cop to conduct himself, but Harry’s a special cop. A little later on in the picture, Katrine Bratt, who becomes Harry’s unofficial partner on a serial killer case, tells him that she studied his cases in “the academy.” Harry’s a genius detective whose personal life is an utter mess. One of the movie’s many problems is that the viewer is treated to much more of the mess part than the genius part. In point of fact, I don’t think the genius part ever emerges.
I mentioned first-rate talents. The cast is what they used to call one of “International All-Stars.” Aside from Fassbender, there’s the engaging Rebecca Ferguson as Bratt. Charlotte Gainsbourg is here as Harry’s ex-girlfriend. Toby Jones is a policeman in another Norway town. Val Kilmer, his voice rather badly and inexplicably dubbed, turns up. As does J.K. Simmons, speaking in his own voice and applying to it a credible and yet somehow incredible mid-Atlantic accent. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard him say “gah-raaaahzzh,” but I’m not sure I’d pay sixteen bucks for the privilege.
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