Boy, Young Magneto can’t escape masked adversaries can he?
Usually, I’m a pretty big fan of Michael Fassbender, but outside of his X-Men ventures, he doesn’t seem to find a good footing. I mean, seriously, has he done anything good outside of his superhero genre? Hmm, okay, I really liked THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (2016). And now that I’m thinking about it, wasn’t he nominated for his performance in STEVE JOBS (2015)? Oh alright, so it’s not so gloomy, but there’s so many bad or unsuccessful films under his belt. Well, here’s yet another venture of his and it’s not shaping up to be a good turn. And what the hell is Rebecca Ferguson doing in this picture? Damn it, she was supposed to have a spotless record! THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (2016) was supposed to be the worst that she had. Or… maybe LIFE (2017). At least, that’s how my delusions were supposed to work.
The story looks like it’s about a detective looking into a series of murders where the killer chops the heads off of his victims and places them on snowman bodies, hence his alias: the snowman killer. He also seems to spend his time mocking Fassbender’s character, claiming that he could have saved the victims, and gave him all the clues. Doesn’t look… awful, but we’ll see.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Michael Fassbender (ALIEN: COVENANT , HAYWIRE , INGLORIOUS BASTERDS , and the upcoming X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX ), Rebecca Ferguson (FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS , MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION , HERCULES , and upcoming films THE GREATEST SHOWMAN  and M:I 6 – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ), Charlotte Gainsbourgh (NORMAN , INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE , and NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 1 ), and Jonas Karlsson (foreign projects). In support, we have J.K. Simmons (PATRIOTS DAY , JUNO , THE JACKAL , and upcoming films JUSTICE LEAGUE  and THE BATMAN, no release date announced), Val Kilmer (SONG TO SONG , DEJA VU , and THE SAINT ), Toby Jones (ATOMIC BLONDE , THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY , THE HUNGER GAMES , and the upcoming JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM ), Chloë Sevigny (BEATRIZ AT DINNER , LOVE & FRIENDSHIP , and ZODIAC ), and Jaime Clayton (THE NEON DEMON , video game MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA , and TV show SENSE8 [2015 – 2018]).
Now for the crew.
Overall, this movie is getting a critical thrashing, so I’m hoping for a spectacle.
This is my honest opinion of: THE SNOWMAN
Officer Harry (Michael Fassbender) is a drunken and miserable cop, but a good man and good at his job. He is partnered up with the young and eager Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson) on a case involving a missing mother, leading them to a killer that they call “The Snowman Killer,” and how this case spans longer than either of them realize.
And Fassbender’s crappy streak continues. This movie is so bad! But you know what? It’s the kind of bad that you’re not having a fun time with it, but it also doesn’t piss you off either. It’s just… a compelling bad.
First off, the movie is drenched in clichés. A cop who smokes and gets drunk while depressed and obsesses with finding the killer. He pops pills so he can sleep. He was in a failed relationship and forgets his commitments to his rebellious son-figure. He gives such little shit that his superiors keep covering for his bad habits, even though he’s the best on the force. Oh yeah, it’s that character, y’all. Never seen him in a movie before, have you?
But you wanna know the saddest part? If you’re wearing glasses, you might want to take them off. These clichés? They’re the least of this film’s problems. Oh yeah, if this movie’s problems ended with just Fassbender’s character, it might have been alright. But nope!
The first major problem is that this was meant to be a foreign film. This movie is based on a Nordic novel. Hence, the characters in that book probably have Nordic names. However, what I find incredibly bizarre, some of the actors are from Nordic countries, like Ferguson and Karlsson whom are both Swedish, all speak with British accents, and I’m pretty sure the setting of this movie is in Norway. It’s beyond puzzling why the movie didn’t simply take place in London, or some British city. And because of this disconnection, it’s a little distracting when you hear some of the other names in this movie. Like, Harry’s ex-girlfriend Rakel (Gainsbourgh) has a son named Oleg (Michael Yates). Look, I know this movie is supposed to take place in Norway, and Oleg is probably a common name over there, but because the actors mostly speak in British accents, I mostly think this movie takes place in an English-speaking country. So when I hear a teen kid is named “Oleg,” it sounds pretty silly. I can’t name one American or English-born child with the name Oleg. It’s too… European, you know what I mean? But it takes place in Norway, so I shouldn’t be too critical, but the movie has to literally remind me of its setting, which isn’t very often. In fact, I think the setting it only referenced twice in the entire film. If I don’t hear Norwegian accents, or not obvious English accents, I’m not going to remember that it takes place in Norway, or I have to take efforts in actively reminding myself that it does in fact take place in Norway, which sounds exhausting.
Also… Harry Hole? Is this name pronounced differently in Norway? Because in America… that’s an easy name to make fun of. I don’t need to know about Fassbender’s hairy hole! I know this is a considered a great character and part of a long running series of crime novels- in fact, this movie is based on the seventh installment – but that’s a really silly name. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal if the great character that was in the books had translated onto the big screen, but sadly, Harry is written horrendously bland. He has no real personality outside of the clichés that I mentioned earlier. I imagine any fan of the novels is royally pissed off with this flick.
Honestly, all of the problems with this movie can be summed up in the opening scene. You have this kid and his single mother living in a small house in the middle of a snowy nowhere and then a single cop shows up, causing a stir in the two of them. The cop starts quizzing the boy on certain things and every question he gets wrong, he slaps his mother. Then, the boy is sent away as the cop has sex with the mom. The boy peers into the room, the mom sees her son, and then threatens the cop that she’ll tell his wife that the boy is really his son. Then… the cop says, “Fine, then you won’t see me again.” The cop gets up and leaves in a huff with the boy begging him not to leave. You following this, reader? Because if not, you’re not the only one. As the cop drives away, even the mother starts begging him not to leave and they drive after him. She somehow ends up off the road and onto a frozen lake, which obviously ends up breaking. The boy is out of the car, of course, but the mom literally does nothing as she drowns herself. The scene ends and we cut right to Fassbender and his story. Yeah, nothing made even the slightest amount of sense, did it? And you know what’s amazing? I’m not exaggerating. The movie makes zero effort in explaining any of it’s baffling choices like this.
There’s also some incredibly awkward editing. The movie constantly cuts to these scenes that take place nine years prior to the current events. While in the end, you know what those scenes signify and their connection to the present events, it’s way too clunky in its transitions and timing that it just seems like a random deviations with no rhyme or reason. The script is beyond basic. I remember a quick scene with Harry and Oleg in a train and every single line was a cliché. “It’s not your fault.” “You deserved better.” “Listen to your mother.” You know, lines like that. And… as much as I really want to know what’s going on with Val Kilmer’s health, as he did not look healthy in this movie, so I’ll leave this subject alone to be looked up online later, but most of his dialog was dubbed, and horribly so. Like, even people who don’t know what dubbing is will notice an obvious lack of syncing between the lines being said and the movement of his lips.
I’ve seen more than a few reviews stating that they figured out the ending pretty quickly, that the killer was Mathias. I can’t claim that. I didn’t see him coming. Having said that, that doesn’t mean I think this twist is good. The foundation of a good twist is that the story dropped subtle clues, easily missed, but were still right in front of the audience’s eyes the whole time. Unless I am insanely oblivious to the obvious, which is a possibility, the twist is just stupid. Mathias has been one of the few fairly likable characters in the film, being civil and polite with Harry, helping the guy with prescription drugs to help him sleep, covering for him when he forgets his camping trip with Oleg, he’s a really decent guy. But then when the twist is revealed, that’s when he starts acting like a creepy serial killer, and somehow, no one around him questions his sudden change in behavior. What a freakin’ load!
There’s a ton of awkward things in this movie, but I wouldn’t know what to say about half of them. Is there anything good about the movie? Um… some of the cinematography is pretty. But then again, I recently saw WIND RIVER (2017), which had better cinematography, so… not all that impressed. I give credit that most of the actors aren’t… awful. Fassbender apparently started filming this movie two days after wrapping up from ASSASSIN’S CREED (2016), so he just looks tired and doesn’t give a shit. Ferguson is fine-ish. She doesn’t look bored, or anything. It’s too bad that she isn’t given a role that does her any favors. Beyond that, not really. Like I said, this movie wasn’t insulting, and I don’t hate it, but it’s a really bad film and I don’t recommend it in any way. Hard pass, folks. Let this snowman melt into nothingness.
My honest rating for THE SNOWMAN: 2/5