The Snowman is directed by Tomas Alfredson who you’ll probably know for his work on the 2011 mystery thriller, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. That was a film which personally I wasn’t crazy about, but I know a lot of people are. So with a well-established director behind the camera, a superb cast including the likes of Michael Fassbender and a film that’s adapted from a critically acclaimed Jo Nesbo novel, surely it’s got to be more than good? Sadly that’s just not the case, instead, we have what could potentially be one of the most disappointing films of the year.
I honestly don’t know what happened with this because the entire film just felt like a set up to nothing. I sat there for probably a good half an hour just trying to be patient and cut this film some slack, the pacing seemed like that of a snail, but I kept on telling myself that it was just taking it’s time to flesh out characters and so on. I think the best way to put this into perspective would be to tell you specifically about the screening I went to and it’s disruptive audience.
When the film started I found myself getting more and more frustrated with the row of giggly school girls behind me, who didn’t look like they were old enough to be watching a 15, which is ironic considering I was asked for ID at 22 years old. But I mean they were putting their feet up on the seats, making unnecessary comments out loud and being ridiculously jumpy. I’ve just about had enough of films being spoilt for me by disruptive audiences, so I was on the verge of going to get a member of staff but eventually, my interest in the film just completely slipped away and I just simply didn’t care anymore. If anything their silly little comments ended up being more entertaining than the film itself.
Michael Fassbender’s character is sorely lacking the usual charisma and charm that he brings to his on-screen roles, we’re made aware that he has a drinking problem, but then it’s never explored. There’s even a line of dialogue about him being something of a legend when it comes to his police work, but during the film’s two hour run time I don’t believe I saw anything which made me think “Wow he’s so ahead of the curve!”. You can tell he’s trying, you really can, I don’t think for a second that it’s a case of him mailing it in for a quick paycheck, but you can only do so much when a film is this shoddy- after all, he’s an actor, not a magician.
When the opening credits came up I was ever so pleased to see J.K. Simmons name come up and Val Kilmer too, what a surprise! J.K. Simmons though was literally just used as a decoy, the film almost seemed to be grabbing you by the shoulders and shouting “Look how corrupt he is, maybe he’s the killer!” but it was far too on the nose to actually be worth considering.
One of the film’s only redeeming qualities would be its direction, there were some really nice landscape shots in there, but at the end of the day, this is supposed to be a film, not a photo montage. Direction no matter how good it may be cannot make up for lacking in all the other areas. So if you feel like you might be in the mood for something of a whodunit mystery, I’d probably recommend a game of Cluedo with friends and family overseeing The Snowman. 6/10