Review: The Snowman


On paper, The Snowman should be an amazing film:

  1. It’s based on a bestselling novel by Jo Nesbo.
  2. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer, and J.K Simons.
  3. It follows two detectives tracking a serial killer who turns his victims into a snowman.
  4. Its executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
  5. Did I mention Michael Fassbender?????

On screen…well that’s another story.

The plot is all over the place like a melted snowman, but here’s the rough synopsis – Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is detective following the trail of a serial killer who leaves a creepy snowman at the crime scene. He teams up a young detective named Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson) to help catch the killer. There’s also a flashback to Gert (Val Kilmer) who’s on the case of the killer some time before Harry and his team were assigned.

The Snowman is a beautiful mess of a film. There are stunning shots of Norway and its exquisite landscape. However, the story is a jumbled mess. The plot is an uneven crime thriller at best and that’s matched by inconsistent edits and bizarre character choices made throughout the film. Deep into the third act, the film still has audiences wondering how this mess of a movie will come together. Spoiler:  it doesn’t.

All of the actors are very good in their roles; they just aren’t given very much to do. The performers are doing their best to piece together a fractured film. They all deserve a better film to be a part of. At a glance, The Snowman broke some key rules:

Rule #1 – Any film about a serial killer can’t be boring.

Rule #2 – Give audiences character(s) to care about

Rule #3 – Don’t waste Michael Fassbender

Rule #4 – Give audiences a satisfying final fight. At least give us that.

Rule #5 – If you’re going to be bad, do it in 90 minutes or less.

The film really does’t make cops in Norway look good. They’re not very good at their jobs. Nobody mentions seeing the same creepy snowmen at every crime scene, they’re terrible at forensic science, and they don’t do any real investigative work. These cops are laughably bad.

The Snowman has all the makings of a good film. Seriously, it has every ingredient necessary for an amazing thriller. How this film fails at every turn is terrible triumph. The story builds and builds to an extremely unsatisfying ending.

Grade: D