by Stephen Shea
Chilly, atmospheric, thrillers are my favorite genre of film. The movie adaptations of beach read thrillers like Gone Girl, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the miniseries adaptation of Big Little Lies are all awesome. The Snowman was looking like it could be an interesting addition to the bunch with a really cool cast including J.K. Simmons, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, and Val Kilmer. I thought this could be a fun sit through like The Girl on the Train which wasn’t good but was kind of a fun watch. How wrong I was. How wrong I was.
First off, I will say that the cinematography is pretty good. It has a really consistently chilly vibe to it that is pretty reminiscent of some of David Fincher’s best thrillers. That is all that I can say that is good or competent. The rest of this movie is shoddily put together. The editing cuts moments up and is just super awkward. It’s no surprise given that 10-15 percent of the content of the original book wasn’t filmed. The editing credit goes to legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker who came in to clean up the film. It says volumes that she, being a legendary Oscar winner, couldn’t even save this movie.
The performances are largely in the category of meh which, it is more offensive that literally no effort was put into their characters than if someone was terrible and tried too hard. The outliers are Simmons, Kilmer, and Sevigny. Simmons has a horrible accent and seems to be the only one who made the character choice to do that type of accent and he suffers comparatively. Kilmer basically mopes around, doing literally nothing. His dialogue is completely dubbed over and consists of grunts. He looks like he is just chewing gum and they dubbed his voice over it. Sevigny plays a pair of twins. Why you might ask? So that after receiving a call about a woman going missing you do a double take when her twin sister greets the detectives. While not extremely awful, she ultimately does nothing and makes the viewer say “Why did she need to play twins?. Rebecca Ferguson is fine. Michael Fassbender is basically playing the clichéd drunk once great detective.
The story of this film is pretty ludicrous. You never care for any of the characters at all. Nobody is sympathetic and they are all kind of whiny. Ferguson’s character has some sort of dimension to her but it involves all the stuff with Kilmer so it basically carries no weight. When you find out who the killer is, the movie thinks it’s more clever than it actually is and Fassbender points out the flawed logic of the killer. The idea of who the killer is goes against what the film had been building up to the whole time. The investigation is directionless and makes this film boring.
Coming from the director of the amazing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I expected at least a competent film. He did not deliver a competent film. He delivered a shiny looking turd. You can polish a turd all you want but it’s still a turd. That being said, everyone needs to see this movie one way or another because of simply how ludicrous and awful it is.