The Snowman Review
So, I don’t know who this imposter masquerading as Michael Fassbender is, but he needs to go the fuck away and bring the real Micahael Fassbender back to us. Especially now rather than later before he makes any real damage to Fassbender’s career.
When I first saw Fassbender in “300,” then saw him in “Hunger” a year later, then in “Inglorious Basterds” a year after that, it was pretty clear what was happening. It becomes pretty clear to anyone who truly loves movies when you are seeing an actor’s career mold together. I figured it was only going to be a matter of time before we saw Fassbender nearly everywhere, and sure enough he became a household name in no time. It’s not surprising, he’s a good-looking guy with some real range as a performer. He’s had lead roles and supporting, he’s played heroes and villains, and he’s been funny and serious, all in synced and equal measure. The guy does good work. But suddenly, he’s hit a slog. He seemed to be phoning it in with “X-Men: Apocalypse,” he turned in a weird performance in “Alien: Covenant.” Then he pushed for his long-awaited “Assassin’s Creed” adaptation, a movie that baffled more than anything I saw last year.
Once again, he’s made a head-scratcher of a decision starring in “The Snowman.” “The Snowman” is based on the seventh book of a series of novels by Jo Nesbo. Why they decided to begin this film series with the seventh book is never explained in the movie, but the film never delivers a good reason to explore the novels. They revolve around Harry Hole, the type of police detective you’d find in the old 1930’s film noirs. He’s tired, he’s burdened by a dark past, he drinks heavily and is constantly falling asleep drunk on a bench instead of finding shelter. I don’t know if this is how Hole behaves in the books, I got all of this from the weird performance by Michael Fassbender, who plays Hole in the movie.
Hole takes on a case to find a serial killer named The Snowman who has resurfaced after many years. The Snowman has been operating on and off for a long time, and he’s never been caught. He’s a man who cuts the heads off his victims and replaces them with snowball heads. Not that this really matters, the snowman motif never pays off in the movie and for an R-rated creepy movie, there is very little visceral material in the film. This is another one of those thrillers with no thrills and horror films with no horrors. It also features a mystery that wraps itself up in the film’s opening credit sequence.
Oh yes, you’ve seen movies like this before. “The Snowman” features a laughably ridiculous opening credit sequence which pretty much gives away the origin of the serial killer. This quickly becomes a mystery movie that gives you all the answers upfront, a simple fill-in-the-blanks movie. Kind of like “Lucky Number Slevin.” The audience basically sits around waiting to find out who the little kid is, which takes very little effort, and the rest of the film slugs on with disjointed scenery. It has been rumored that 15% of the script was never shot. It clearly shows when character sub-plots go nowhere, and the entire experience as a whole is blitheringly incoherent.
Instead of a compelling, invigorating mystery, we get J.K. Simmons sporting a weird British-ish accent. We have Chloe Sevigny wooden and stiff. We get Toby Jones, Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Gainsberg all looking bored. And Val Kilmer…Wax Doll Val Kilmer. At least, that’s apparently what all the casting notes say it is. It doesn’t look like the real Val Kilmer. I had to sit and stair at the screen to really figure out who that was. It looks like someone mad a rubber Val Kilmer mask, cut their hair in a weird way, then superglued the rubber Val Kilmer mask to their face. The noise that comes out of Val Kilmer’s mouth doesn’t sound like Val Kilmer’s voice. I suppose there is a network of imposters that are kidnapping all of our favorite actors, even though Kilmer has been phoning it in since the end of the 90’s. Why did all of these great actors sign up for a film so rotten? Didn’t they watch a copy of the finished film and not bother to ask what their characters were doing half the time?
When Wax Doll Val Kilmer shoots his gun in the air for no apparent reason, all I could really do was laugh. It’s takes something so wildly off-base with a serious drama or a mystery or a horror movie when I am literally laughing at all the nonsense on screen. But sadly, that’s what “The Snowman” is, it’s complete nonsense. From beginning to end, a bunch of complete nonsense. Whatever goodwill that may lay in the Jo Nesbo’s books was miserably lost in this adaptation. I also don’t know what is going on with Michael Fassbender but he really needs to get back on track. He needs to stop pushing these franchises that will go nowhere and he just needs to start keeping an eye out for quality movies again. Fassbender was once a name that was so promising, and he may be set to tarnish everything that took so much time to build.
“The Snowman” is a bland movie. A mystery that has no mystery, it takes the lazy route at every turn, and when the movie isn’t being lazy, its wackily incoherent. When the killer is “revealed” and when you learn how they connect to the other characters in the movie, you are going to beg for Rick Moranis to pop out in his Lord Helmet outfit and recite the killer’s reveal. It’s that remarkably stupid that only comedy could save this from being a total mess. But this is a serious drama and we are supposed to take this story serious. But the film is so willfully bad that none of it matters.
FINAL GRADE: D