The Snowman is an abominable failure

Michaela McGrath

One thing you might find yourself wondering halfway through Tomas Alfredson’s “The Snowman” is: is this even a movie? Or is this some sort of avant garde experiment on the theater-going audience? The film is based on a novel by Jo Nesbø, about a troubled detective named Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender), who investigates a string of disappearances in Norway that happen during winter. He gets help from detective Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) to uncover the killer’s motives and prevent the next murders.


Not that any of that matters. No information on the story will change the fact that you will be confused at any given moment. There isn’t a single plot point that makes sense or that has any semblance of coherence. A lot of this has to do with the editing of the film; the way scenes are pieced together is as jarring and baffling as the rest of the choices this movie makes.

Harry Hole is just one of several incompetent detectives. The movie’s killer, who targets young mothers, sends Hole letters that address him as “Mister Police” and feature illustrations of a snowman. He dismembers his victims and assembles them into snowmen, or shows his inexplicable love for snowmen by building them outside of the women’s homes. And yet it takes Hole the majority of the excruciating two-hour running time to tie together the letters and the recurring killings. The film vastly overestimates how creepy a shot of a snowman is, choosing to cut to one at least a dozen times. If you’re looking for a thriller that is at once boring and unintentionally hilarious, “The Snowman” is a safe bet.


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