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Five Reasons Why The Snowman Blows

October 19, 2017

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Michael Fassbender has been on an ice-cold streak at the box office with duds like Alien: Resurrection, Assassin’s Creed and The Light Between Oceans. No doubt his star status will continue to melt with The Snowman, an adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Norwegian crime novel. In it, Fassbender plays Harry Hole (no joke, that’s his name), an Oslo cop on the trail of a serial killer. The film is a scream, but not in the way Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy director Tomas Alfredson  intended. Here’s why.

Fassbender is miscast. Harry Hole is a burnt-out alcoholic prone to passing out in the gutter. We’re not sure why — his backstory seems to have been left out, although we do know he has an ex-girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg, who participates in one of the most uncomfortable love scenes in recent memory). Fassbender doesn’t look like he’s ever been on a bender — or skipped a day at the gym, for that matter.

Snowmen aren’t chilling. Some things, like clowns, are inherently scary, as It has proven. This killer leaves his mark by building a snowman at the scene of his murders. Every time the camera cuts to ice sculpture’s crooked smile, you can’t help but laugh.

We expect better from Martin Scorsese. Yes, we’re talking to you, Marty. You executive-produced this movie, after wisely choosing not to direct it yourself. The fact that your legendary longtime collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker is listed as one of the film’s two editors leads me to believe you realized what a frozen turkey you had on your hands and asked her to try and salvage it. She didn’t succeed.

The supporting cast is problematic. As a cop assigned to Fassbender’s task force, Rebecca Ferguson is beyond bland. As her father, Val Kilmer is simply distracting — his voice seems out of sync with his mouth, like he (or someone else) badly dubbed his lines later. Even J.K. Simmons gives a terrible performance, which I didn’t think was possible, overacting wildly as a nefarious Norwegian businessman.

Harvey Weinstein’s shadow hangs over the film. The ex-Miramax ogre had nothing to do with The Snowman, yet the newfound focus on sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood as a result of the scandal surrounding him makes certain scenes of violence against women even harder to watch. Suffice it to say an alternate title for the movie might be Bring Me the Head of Chloe Sevigny. Maybe all those lawyers who have quit Weinstein’s team can go work for Frosty, because he’s got a serious defamation of character case against the abominable Snowman.

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One Comment
  1. Jean D. Barton permalink

    I loved the book(s). Nesbo was my follow-up to Girl With Dragon Tattoo and was in that genre. Was really looking forward to movie and will see it anyway.

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