It’s October and nothing says fall like warming your heart with a good…murder mystery. Okay, not the most sense filled opening, but it transitions into my next review in the thriller/mystery saga of Hollywood. Tonight, we talk about the Snowman, one of the more popular installments in the Harry Hole mystery book series that swept the world. As Hollywood does, they decided to cut to the chase and bring the story to life in what they hope will be the biggest hit sensation. What lies in this cold-hearted killing flick? Robbie K here to give you the inside, without spoilers. Let’s go.
Interesting concept: One thing about the world of crime is that it spans some creative ideas to put our characters up against. The Snowman creates a killer with a new calling card whose motives, like the faces on his snowmen, are cold, callous, and mysterious. This chilling concept creates the backbone of the movie, and kept me a little on edge as to what lay behind the white mask peering through the window. It has been a while since we last got such an original killer and I applaud the literary world for crafting it.
Fassbender: Michael Fassbender continues to show his skills as an actor, branching his roles to yet another genre/world contained in Hollywood. I was impressed by his portrayal of Harry Hole, covering all the emotional arrays this character has on his shoulders. Hole is a struggling drug addict, trying to deal with the loss of some personal matters. Fassbender captures the drug addiction role quite well, turning those struggles into a deep seeded sadness that is only quelled by work. The suffering is well portrayed, only beaten by how well he has the detective role down as he tries to solve the crime. In truth, Fassbender just crafts a very interesting character with multiple layers, keeping you rooting for him.
The Mystery: While the characters are certainly interesting, it’s the actual mystery itself that will keep you engaged in at least the first half of the film. The Snowman’s primary selling point is figuring out who is the wizard of frozen death and what are his motives, other than being crazy. Unlike Happy Death Day, this story has plenty of information to process, doing a nice job of keeping your mind active in pursuit of the answers. It took me about halfway to figure it out, so the challenge (unless you read the books you cheaters) are slightly more difficult and the foreshadowing is not as obvious. Thus, by using this mystery element, one remains in their seats to see the end.
Scenery: Like my other reviewers, I have to give props to the camerawork in this movie, and the beautiful job done on capturing the majesty of the snowy filled cities. Sure, the soulless snowmen are creepy, as well as the unknown creator who creeps in the silent blanket. However, without the scenery there to set the deadly playing field I feel that edge would be much less. One can’t help but get “chills” as our heroes wander the dark, quiet, frontier whose tranquility is only a mask for the threat it contains. It creates a field of isolation that is even scarier than the deranged killer.
Needs More suspense: The Snowman had potential in the beginning, but sadly they dropped much of the building suspense as the movie progressed. In search of a motif, a lot of drama started to bubble out, creating a convoluted (yet shallow) web of subplots that didn’t need to be as detailed in the film. By getting too distracted in these elements, it took away from the thrilling chase, in a very dry attempt to develop our secondary characters.
The Slow Pace: The Snowman film feels much like a book, long and drawn out with many details crammed into the mix. Had the suspense been up to par with my expectations, this would not have been a problem, but alas you feel how time creeps at parts of this movie. There were plenty of moments that could have been edited out of the film without taking away much, if anything, from the story. Without the mystery keeping me intrigued enough, this dull pace would have had me snoozing in my chair.
The Weak Climax: After the long journey to get to the answer, you would hope for a strong finale. Again, The Snowman fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion, going for instead a rushed ending that tries to wrap everything up. This rapid finish first felt like they were just done with the movie, unable to come up with a justified ending. Despite the vivid mind games being dropped in this movie, the ending was a diluted, predictable mess, with a rather lazy conclusion. Worst of all though, the climax fails to fill in half the unanswered questions, relying on you to use vague sentences to piece together the overall puzzle. I’m hoping the book will answer these questions better, but making a film of the 7th book, left a lot to be desired in regards to solving all the mystery.
My fellow reviewers are correct in saying that the potential of this thriller was lost in this screen adaptation. Although there is an intriguing killer concept alongside a dynamic mystery, this movie just runs too slow and lacks that fulfilling punch needed in these types of films. Fassbender does his best to keep his character engaging enough to see you until the end, but it is still not enough to bring satisfaction to the award-winning book. My buddy and I agree this one is best left to home viewing/reading, holding out for next weekend to get your theater trip on.
Movie Overall: 5.0