"The Snowman" is directed by Tomas Alfredson and it stars Michael Fassbender as Detective Harry Hole. (yes, that's his actual name in the movie) He's thrust into the middle of a missing persons case and it eventually leads him to trying to figure out the identity of "The Snowman Killer", this moniker coming from the killer's tendency to leave snowmen built at the scenes of his crimes. Detective Hole (that's an actual name I just typed with a straight face) then teams up with Rebecca Ferguson's character and what we get is a whodunit mystery.
Having seen both this movie and "Geostorm" already, my chore tonight was figuring out which of these messes that I was going to review first. Do I first review the boring, poorly put together mystery drama that's based off of a book that's most likely a million times better than its film counterpart, or do I review the disaster movie starring Gerard Butler? I just flipped a damn coin to decide which of these shitty movies to review tonight and I guess I get to talk about the boring mystery tonight. The disaster movie comes tomorrow night, but regardless I'm still reviewing a bad film.
Let me just state the obvious: There's a major difference between a boring movie and a slow movie. A good film can be deliberately slow in pace, but still find a way to be genuinely engaging to the audience, this resulting in a well made piece of film. That comes from things like well developed characters and an interesting story, but those things aren't in "The Snowman". A movie that's just plain boring is ultimately one where there's nothing interesting to offer onscreen and that's what we have here, starting with the characters.
The character of Harry Hole is one who has attributes that are potentially interesting, but the problem is that his inner demons are never explored. The movie starts him out as a troubled cop who has his own issues from his past, but it's all surface level and nothing is elaborated on beyond what we see in the opening of the film. The same goes for Rebecca Ferguson; she's a character with a shady past, but we're not given any actual development. The characters in this movie don't even deserve to be called characters. They're just vessels who do stuff for the sake of advancing the plot. These are fine actors who are obviously putting forth some effort in giving a good enough performance, but both the writing and editing weaken what could be interesting characters.
Speaking of the performance, I'm going to address Val Kilmer's role in this movie. From what I understand, Kilmer was dealing with some major health issues at the time of filming and what results is a lot of post-production work done on his scenes. His dialogue is clearly dubbed over, the words not even remotely matching his lip movement and there even looked like there was some CGI used on him. I could very well be 100% wrong in that regard, but I just couldn't help but get an Uncanny Valley vibe whenever I saw him onscreen. Whatever the case, Val Kilmer deserves to recover from his health issues and he also deserves better than to be in this movie.
From an editing perspective, this movie has some of the choppiest film editing I've ever seen. For starters, the transitions between scenes are a jumbled mess. When one scene switches over to another scene in a completely different location with completely different characters, it's too sudden and you can't even process the change of scenery. Then there are even some scenes that feel like they end way too soon. Certain sequences just go nowhere when it seems like it's building to some type of revelation or discovery for the characters. From what I've heard, this movie underwent some major edits on the cutting room floor and key scenes are left out entirely. That would make perfect sense seeing as how parts from the trailer aren't in the movie at all, as well as the fact that the entire plot and sequence of events are completely incomprehensible.
In terms of being a mystery, it's about as cliched and formulaic as you can get. No spoilers here, but certain plot points are brought up early in the movie and I was easily able to figure out their purpose as well as seeing to what they were leading to. One of these things being lead to was the identity of the Snowman Killer. I saw that reveal coming from a mile away and the only thing getting in the way of the predictable climax is a series of red herrings and false trails that didn't fool me for a second. I'm not claiming to be some type of investigative genius, but what I am claiming is that this movie is predictable and anyone who has seen any mystery movie ever will be able to figure out this movie from the get-go.
If I have to throw out a positive for this movie, I'll say that it's a good looking movie. Both director Tomas Alfredson and cinematographer Dion Beebe have constructed a movie that has some really beautiful wide shots of the icy cold environment that is Norway. For a movie called "The Snowman", you'd expect that icy feeling to linger with you throughout and to give credit where credit is due, this movie at times captures the harsh winter in that specific environment. So in other words, this movie is cinematic lipstick on a pig.
Overall, "The Snowman" can be equated to last year's "The Girl on the Train". It's a mystery that's definitely predictable, but it also thinks it's so clever in how its plot plays out when the truth is that it's a boring mess. And I honestly can't emphasize the word "boring" enough for this film. It clocks in at two hours, but it felt so much longer. I actually saw "Blade Runner 2049" for a second time this week and that nearly three hour movie felt shorter than this two hour movie. I was dozing off at several points in this film and I truly do commend anyone who can watch this movie and stay awake the entire time.
Rating: Some Ol' Bullshit