“I can’t keep covering for you.”
In order to understand what it’s like to watch The Snowman, imagine yourself in the following circumstance. You’re an eager house hunter, blind-folded and walked to the front door by your realtor, unknowing of what’s to come. Then you step inside and look around. Wood floors, granite countertops, open concept, the rooms styled with a black and white feng shui. But you feel a cold draft, look up, and realize that half of the ceiling is missing. As far as HGTV shows go, The Property Brothers would probably try to utilize this as a bizarre selling point, but a more honest program like Fixer Upper would admit that something crucial and integral was missing. Likewise, The Snowman is an abominable and microwaved mess because it’s such a conspicuously and embarrassingly incomplete puzzle. The missing pieces are nowhere to be found.
Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) wakes up in a hut during the frigid cold of an Oslo Winter. Only grown men who are addicts wrestle from a boozy comma in such a maelstrom, and Harry treats his daze with coffee and cigarettes. Why is he at this nippy nadir? We find out later…sort of. Harry’s a lauded detective, shown to us by his privilege within the office and explained to us by newcomer Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), a woman on a cold-case who’s studied Harry’s past work. He joins in to give his sleepless mind an avenue for activity and an outlet of curiosity (and because he doesn’t have a license and needs a ride home.) There’s a new killer on the loose. One who creepily builds snowmen as harbingers for danger, strategically picks and hunts down women, and murders them with surgeon technique and a Masters degree in sociopathic depravity. Harry and Katrine make it their business to solve the case but can’t agree on the right approach. Neither can the film.
Katrine has a past. Harry has a past. The whole damn story – including some of the worst and most inconsistent time jumps I’ve ever seen in a film – is reliant and focused on the happenings of the past. But they don’t matter to this stupid story. It’s all hodgepodge decor made up from the findings in the back of the fridge. A dried out carrot, some rotten olives, a few grapes turned to raisins. The Snowman is an ugly, pee-soaked tundra of a roundup decorated with plot holes and heedless red herrings that are so painfully obvious and foolish that we see can see them a mile away through a blizzard. Poorly directed and mediocre performances from dynamic stars like Hall and Fassbender aren’t enough to sustain something this foolish, reckless, and altogether pointless. You can’t connect the dots when they don’t even reside on the same map. I’d willingly testify in court that The Snowman does not make sense. Pleading the fifth couldn’t save it.
The Snowman is the type of film that almost makes a critic feel unjust in critiquing the haphazard and quartered off hazmat areas of the narrative. Almost nothing makes sense, and that’s because the foundation is loose, the rooftop spotty, and the confidence insecure. It’s alleged by director Tomas Alfredson that 10-15% of the script wasn’t even shot, and if that’s true, this is like giving a negative Yelp review to a restaurant that was forced to offer a service that was destined to fail. Alfredson is not the one to blame for this catastrophe. Nor are the actors. The Snowman is a disastrous and downcast film because of its poor and thoughtless production, and I hope they tie this wound off and limp into the horizon instead of engaging in potential sequels. The Snowman melts in your mouth with a sour, bitter taste that’s as hard to stomach as it is easy to laugh it.
“It was a suicide. Case closed.”
Rating: 0.5 out of 5