Aggravation. There is no more fitting word to describe the feelings of the masses as they leave the theater after viewing The Snowman, a crime-thriller based on a novel of the same name by the Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. It is absolutely baffling to see Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, who directed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy—which was nominated for three Academy Awards—at the helm of such a heaping disaster.
There is so much wrong with this movie that the fact that there is one well-done part of the film actually makes it more infuriating than it would have been had it just been terrible as a whole. That positive aspect of the film was its camerawork. The Snowman contains some of the most stunning individual shots put into film in the last five years, and they feel entirely wasted. Every facet of this film other than the shot selection fails to display that even a marginal amount of effort was put into its creation.
The writers behind the travesty of a script used in this film should be ashamed of themselves. Michael Fassbender tries his very best to single-handedly drag this rotting corpse of a story along, but no cast could have revived what had been long dead ever since production began. It is filled to the brim with plot holes, and it is befuddling to think that Martin Scorsese signed up to produce this movie considering his track record.
Explaining what actually happens in this film is useless because articulating the events might be the only more difficult task than interpreting the film as it is playing. The plot “twists” that the director and writers likely thought to be surprising and awe-inducing end up making no sense whatsoever and are more infuriating than anything. The climax and finale are so underwhelming and unrealistic that the audience at the screening legitimately laughed at the moment which was supposed to be the coming-full-circle, jaw-dropping conclusion.
Even more unintentionally hilarious is the editing in The Snowman. This film was marketed as a crime-horror film, but it is in no way scary and is much more thriller than horror. Unfortunately, the editors were apparently adamant that this movie had to be scary. Some parts of the film have the dark and dreadful tone that thrillers generally use, and at times it works well. But most of the time it is interrupted by the cheesy horror tones that the editors constantly try to implement.
The most egregious offense of this kind in the film comes just after a character is killed and the police are on the scene. After the victim’s death is incorrectly labeled as a suicide, the film decides to ditch subtlety and throw on an atrocious jump-scare. The camera quickly zooms in on the snowman the killer built outside of the garage where the victim died, and a loud stock horror sound effect is played for absolutely no reason. This happens almost a dozen times throughout the film, and it gets funnier every time.
The immense amount of terrible directing and writing in The Snowman does not manage to distract the viewer from the terrible display of acting in this film. Fassbender gave the only decent performance, and that is saying a lot considering there was barely a shell of a character written for him. Val Kilmer shows up for some godforsaken reason as a detective in a series of flashbacks that are entirely unnecessary to the plot and proceeds to be absolutely terrible in his portrayal of a terrible character. The rest of the members of the supporting cast seem lost throughout the film and put almost no emotion into anything that is happening. The best performance other than Fassbender’s (no, this is not a joke) comes from a girl who cannot be older than ten, Jeté Laurence, in her role as the daughter of one of the victims.
Yes, the film is terrible. Yes, everyone involved showed a complete and utter lack of effort. But, there isn’t anything pushing this movie into “one of the worst movies ever made” territory, right? This movie cannot possibly be as stupidly iconic as films like Birdemic and The Room, right?
Then again, the main character’s name is Harry Hole.
And no, his last name was not spoken with the proper Norwegian pronunciation like it was expressed in Jo Nesbo’s novel. It was pronounced in the same way it would be pronounced by a sixth grader learning about raunchy jokes for the first time. It is bewildering to know that a director with as good of a track record as Tomas Alfredson not taking the time to learn the proper pronunciation of a book character’s name in his film and not expressing that to the superstar actor tasked with portraying him.
That final tidbit of incompetence displayed by the creators of The Snowman is exactly why this film will likely go down as one of the worst, if not the worst, of 2017. Do not see this movie, as you will only leave the theater confused, irritated, and $10 less wealthy.
Featured Image by Universal Pictures