This one seemed to have all the right ingredients in place – Martin Scorsese as an executive producer, Michael Fassbender as the lead and some strong talent in support with J.K. Simmons and Chloe Sevigny as part of the lineup. Alas, even with the right ingredients, the dish you’re cooking may still get burnt.
The Snowman follows anti-hero cop/investigator(?) Harry Hole (yes, his last name really is Hole) as he investigates a serial killer who leaves a snowman behind as his calling card. Besides the snowman image, there are also other patterns in the killer’s behavior and who he targets. So, part of the movie’s plot has some interesting points to explore in terms of studying a serial killer. Unfortunately, the film just delivers this plot in a very un-compelling way.
The script itself is very formulaic and yet tries to be original in it’s own way in how it tries to throw you off the trail of the killer. This is one of the areas where things go off the rails, the film tries way too hard to point at who the killer isn’t to the point where some of the paths they lead you down make zero sense. One of the characters they try to pin the murders makes little sense why this person would even be a candidate while another potential person-of-interest is way too obvious. Then there’s the archetype of Fassbender’s Harry Hole – the guy couldn’t be more of a cookie cutter version of the anti-hero alcoholic cop character. Even with Fassbender’s flair, his character is painfully stereotypical.
At the film’s conclusion, during the final confrontation, something happens that’s just way too convenient, easy, and ultimately lazy. It was a disappointing ending to say the least; shame on the filmmakers and writers for taking such a lackadaisical approach to what could’ve been a more compelling finale.
The actors are all good at what they do in the film, it’s just a shame they didn’t have a better script to work with. I wouldn’t waste too much time and energy in seeing this one, the filmmakers didn’t seem to put much time and effort into making something of quality anyway.
reviewed by Sean McKnight