Have you ever wanted to see acclaimed actor Michael Fassbender wade through snowbanks for two hours? That’s basically the long and the short of it when it comes to his latest film, The Snowman (Opening October 20th). And, hate to brea it to you, but unfortunately, Fassbender does not actually play the titular snowman — but that’s a good idea to flesh out at a later time.
Based on the best selling novel of the same name, Snowman follows Fassbender’s loose cannon, always drunk Harry Hole as he tries to track down a serial killer in Oslo, Norway. The killer’s calling card? A grumpy looking snowman who — wait for it — is always assembled to face the victim. Like, the snowman is watching you, a trope the movie reminds us of again and again. It’s supposed to be scary, but after the fifth snowman pops up, it turns comical. Also, the snowman looks almost identical to this emoji: 😐.
The movie opens with promise, and follows your typical police-officer-gets-a-cryptic-note scenario, but unfortunately, after the introduction of the killer — who is targeting women with young children where the father in the picture is not their actual father — the movie isn’t sure what it wants to be. It’s a thriller at heart, but it’s also about fractured families, absent parents, unsolved mysteries, and Oslo winning the bid for the upcoming Winter Games (really). A solid 20 mins of the movie is dedicated to a subplot involving J.K. Simmons that very much fizzles out, and at one point Val Kilmer takes a bath (really really).
Oh, haven’t even mentioned that the darling Chloë Sevigny shows up and plays identical twins whose personalities are a a complete 180.
The Snowman has promise, and had the filmmakers just fine-tuned everything a little bit more, it really could have become a compelling wintertime thriller — also quite possibly set up a new franchise, as there are 11 novels in the Harry Hole series. (If you assumed The Snowman is #1 in the series, you are wrong; it’s #7.)
It’s clear from the trailer released this summer that many, many things were left on the cutting room floor, so maybe there is a solid movie out there somewhere (or, at least at director’s cut with an additional 45 mins of the ‘Bender walking through waist-deep snow). The one thing the movie has really going for it is that it’s g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s. Many scenes are beautifully shot, and you can’t deny that the Snowman is at least easy on the eyes.
As for everything else? If this Snowman leaves you wanting more, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be in theaters next month.