Saturday, 24 February 2018

THE SNOWMAN (film) is a freezing mess

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Micheal Fassbender / Rebecca Ferguson / Charlotte Gainsbourg / Jonas Karlsson / Val Kilmer
Score: Marco Beltrami
Cinematography: Dion Beebe
Content Advisory: R for very grisly images, some language, sexuality, and brief nudity.
Source: Rented.

Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.

I thought the book was excellent and I love Michael Fassbender, so I was so excited to watch this film. I thought it'd be awesome. (Warning: I use lots of really bad ice/snow/cold puns in the last paragraph of this review ;).

The music is suitably eerie, but it's weak as well. The only time I really felt its purpose was during that scene near the end when Harry stalks over the hill of snow to find the killer. It makes the shot strong.
But the cinematography is...well to be honest I don't know what the heck the cinematography was doing for the duration of this film. The first scene - a flashback- is filmed with a camera that looks like it's been draped with lilac netting. It is such a mess  - so sloppy and ugly. And after that scene, the cinematography just gets more confusing. The first few scenes are very hard to watch, then we actually get some decent shots further on, and then, it gets messy again. It's a wreck of clumsy, downright bizarre filming. It's sharp one minute, then bewildering the next. What the heck was going on I don't know.

The film has its flaws. But none of the ones I've mentioned above even come close to the total sludge that is the plot. When you have such strong source material, how can you go wrong?! How?! But somehow, these writers do.
The scenes are all over the place. Their order is absurd. The whole movie feels like it should just be the start, and yet unfortunately most of it is supposed to be gripping, powerful build-up. Except it really isn't. It's in disarray, and it's embarrassing. The mystery is hollow, coincidental, and with no hero-villain personal connection, there's not much holding anything together. It's painful and tedious. 

The acting is solid. Fassbender is rugged and haunting as Hole, and Rebecca Ferguson (although sorely underused) is electric. She's absolutely lovely in every scene. Charlotte Gainsbourg as Rakel is also great, and she's darkly ethereal in the character. But with the exception of those three, the cast is completely unmemorable. I also think that even those three talents struggle with the script; they're not given much too work with, and they suffer for it, despite giving it their all.
The characters are undeveloped. The emotional connection isn't there. I didn't feel the twisted connection between the hero and the villain, nor did I recognize Hole's distress as he struggles to find the killer and stop him. There isn't an urgency or personal connection there.
(And just FYI: I don't like what the writers do with Ferguson's character. She does stuff and has stuff done to her that I do not remember happening in the book. It's a waste of who was, in the book, a wonderfully compelling woman).

The Snowman is a cold mess of rubbish plotting and bizarre cinematography. It wastes its source material and bumbles through the snow with no sense of confidence. Even the decent acting can't stop it from falling through the ice. 

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