Do you remember the cinematic classic The Snowman? It came out in 1982 and became an instant mainstay of every festive season capturing the hearts of every family lucky enough to see it. Now take all that warmth and love you have for such a well-made piece of cinema and imagine the inverse of that and you have director Tomas Alfredson’s dark thriller The Snowman starring Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons, and Val Kilmer who turns in a career-worst performance.
The story of The Snowman follows Harry Hole (Fassbender) a legendary detective who has fallen on hard times. He’s struggling with what to do with his ex-girlfriend and her son and the complex relationship he has with them. As a way to find focus he takes on a case about a missing woman with new recruit Katrine Bratt (Ferguson) and as he delves deeper into this mystery he discovers a much larger, and much more convoluted crime is being perpetrated by a serial killer with a penchant for snowmen but not of the Olaf variety.
The Snowman is possibly the worst film I’ve seen this year and I recently saw Home Again, the only highlight is Fassbender who is giving his all in this craptastic excuse of a thriller. He thrusts himself into the role selling to the audience that he is a hard-drinking hard-living man who is clearly a talented detective but is also a flawed individual filled with issues that make him a more compelling protagonist. Unfortunately, every other character around him pulls him into the snowy cesspool that The Snowman sits upon because apart from Fassbender there are no other interesting characters in this entire film, well that may not be completely true. Val Kilmer easily gives the worst performance of his career as he mutters through each scene he’s in with a dubbed over voice that sounds like its coming from a man being slowly smothered to death. I could go on forever about Kilmer but unlike The Snowman, I’d like to keep a decent pace going to make sure you’re still engaged.
The Snowman doesn’t just fail with its characters and their performances, it also fails with its unremarkable score and soundscape, the audio for several characters is completely all over the place and the attention to detail is at an amateurish level. Tomas Alfredson’s scene transitions are terrible and at times make no sense to the overall flow of the narrative and will rip you out of the film as you scratch your head wondering why we had to see a character shoot themselves with a shotgun when it adds nothing to the narrative. This scene reminds me of the laughable special effects, The Snowman utilises a surprising amount of special effects to try and push the fear factor of this killer but it comes across as laughable and unimpressive and takes away from any legitimacy in The Snowman.
I could go on forever with what’s wrong with The Snowman but I won’t, I will, however, end with the most damning issue about this mystery thriller. You will almost immediately know who the killer is and when a film centres around finding a killer and stopping them you have to ensure that the audience doesn’t figure it out in the first 30 minutes of a 125-minute film.
The Snowman is a terrible film and is not worth your time regardless of the talent on hand, avoid at all costs.