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The Snowman: A Bad Film Made By Talented People

February 23, 2018


Many people run away from films like The Snowman because they don’t want to waste their time watching something that is incomplete, incoherent and disliked by its director. I totally get why people wouldn’t want to watch a movie that director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) admits isn’t complete because he couldn’t shoot 10-15% of the script due to a rushed shooting schedule and limited prep time. However, I ran towards The Snowman because I was intrigued by the drama, weird posters and behind the scenes talents like Martin Scorcese (executive producer), Thelma Schoonmaker (editor), Michael Fassbender (star) and Maria Djurkovic (production designer). I also am a big fan of Jo Nesbo’s books that feature the alcoholic/brilliant Norweigan detective Harry Hole (think Hole-eh) solving crimes while dealing with his demons. On paper, The Snowman should’ve been awesome but the end product turned out to be gloriously confusing.

I hate being here….


The Snowman focuses on a maniacal killer who murders women, leaves a snowman at each crime scene, and harasses a brilliant detective named Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender).  The super detective works in Oslo and occasionally finds himself in drunken stupors that force him to endure many cold nights because he is passed out in snow banks (this means he is very conflicted). During the investigation, he gets a new partner named Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) and the two embark on a twisty investigation that involves fantastic actors like Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, Chloe Sevigny, Toby Jones, James D’Arcy, and J.K. Simmons engaging in moments that will make you scratch your head in confusion (because many scenes don’t go anywhere).

I’m not quite sure why the creators decided to introduce the Harry Hole character with this film because it skips ahead several books and features some silliness that only works on the page. When reading The Snowman I never considered the snowmen to be silly, but when watching the movie I couldn’t help but smile and think about Calvin & Hobbes’ cold creations. The pacing, acting, and lack of enough footage makes me think that nobody really wanted to be on the set and they all regretted signing on to the project. The immense amount of apathy is evident in Michael Fassbender’s performance. I’m not sure if the director wanted him to be constantly morose and lethargic or Fassbender saw the writing on the wall and just wanted it over. I don’t think he would torpedo any role but when The A.V. Club compares his performance to a “teenager forced to attend a family party” and a “sloth suffering from clinical depression” you know something is wrong.

At first, it seemed like people were unfairly dogpiling negativity onto the movie because of the cheeky snowman and that fact that main character is named Harry Hole. I couldn’t fathom a world where this much talent is wasted and the end product features Val Kilmer’s lines being totally redubbed by someone who sounds nothing likes Val Kilmer. Also, I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall when Oscar-winning editors Thelma Schoonmaker and  Claire Simpson did everything in their power to make The Snowman as coherent as possible. Then, when they realized the finished film was nowhere near coherent due to a lack of footage they went ahead and turned it into a funky art project that confused everyone and probably made studio executives pull their hair out with stress.

If you are into watching very talented people creating a very confusing movie you will love The Snowman.


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