Warning! For those of you who watched the trailer and, like me, thought this was a horror movie, it’s not. It’s a thriller. A sometimes-gross thriller, but a thriller nonetheless. And I liked it. But only just. I think the fact that I didn’t have to hide behind my hands through any of it kicked it up a notch or two on the appreciation scale for me.
The Snowman is about several things all at once. A child is wronged, women are disappearing left and right, a cop is drunk but seeking redemption, a teenager is seeking a father figure, another cop is seeking revenge, and someone is building creepy snowmen all over Norway. And in the middle of all that, you get to try to figure out who done it. I guessed and was right but only after second guesses and questioning my guesses. You get the point.
There were several things I really liked about this movie. Michael Fassbender, the scenery, Michael Fassbender, the basic story, though they did walk all over it in spots, Michael Fassbender… There were also several things I didn’t like. One of which was the poor editing and the fact that, once again, things happened in the trailer that you will not see in the film. Who makes these decisions, anyway? Why would you include enticing scenes in the trailer but leave them on the cutting room floor when you completed the film? It’s highly frustrating.
Because I might have mentioned him a time or two in this review, let’s take a moment to discuss Michael Fassbender. As always, he is not hard on the eyes. And because his character is down on his luck, he’s even more endearing. Even when he’s a cranky drunk. Don’t judge me. I have a feeling there are several ladies out there who would agree. His character name, though. Harry Hole? Why??? Despite his gruff exterior, I like Harry. Especially as the story progresses. Harry’s life isn’t exactly where he wants it to be but at least we see him trying to make changes and not wallowing in his desperation. There’s a lesson to be learned there. One thing I didn’t like about his character is we never did figure out why he was a drunk. Or, if we did, I completely missed it. This movie jumped around so much to give extraneous detail that you’d think his backstory would be included. Nope.
Rebecca Ferguson is Katrine Bratt. You pretty much know she’s not quite on the up and up when you first meet her. I did, anyway. I liked her but she still seemed…off. Rebecca did a good job of making Katrine seem haunted, for lack of a better word. Where Harry’s story was lacking, Katrine’s was included, in a roundabout way. I truly TRULY did not like the editing on this film. And, as someone who is okay with a little romance in her thrillers, I was really hoping for a bit of something between Katrine and Harry? Did it happen? I’m not telling.
Val Kilmer was not a major character but I wanted to warn you a bit about him. He “plays” Detective Rafto. I was a huge Val Kilmer fan growing up so it was highly disappointing to see him in this role. I haven’t kept up on any recent news about the actor, himself, so I found myself questioning what on earth was going on with him in the film. I don’t mean this to sound cruel but I couldn’t figure out why his mouth moved the way it did and why it was a tad foamy. I kept waiting for some kind of explanation for a malady of some sort other than the fact that he and Michael are both cast as drunks in this film. It never happened. So, I decided to do a little research and discovered that he, the actor not the character, has been dealing with Cancer. Well, okay then. I do understand that it’s frowned upon for companies to let go of employees when they develop life-threatening diseases but if you’re going to cast someone who develops the kind of health issue that Mr. Kilmer is struggling with, I think it would have been smarter to go with someone else or for him to have stepped down. It was incredibly obvious that they used someone else’s voice for the very few lines he was given and when the camera moved behind him or didn’t show him at all when he spoke, of course the audience is going to question it and it’s going to pull us completely out of the scene and take us a while to get back in again. It was a big distraction. If they were going to insist on using Mr. Kilmer, I believe the editors should have done a much better job than they did. When people go to see a movie, they’re not there to see an actor, per se, but to see how good the actor portrays their current character. Detective Rafto was not represented as effectively as he should have been and the movie was the worse for it. I respect their loyalty to the actor but…
Finally, as far as the cast is concerned, I wanted to mention J.K. Simmons. I don’t like him as a creep. Not one little bit.
The Snowman earned its R-rating through violence alone. There was brief nudity as well but the violence, some of which is quick and gives you absolutely no chance to prepare for it, was the kicker. It’s not something I’d want to see on a regular basis and is definitely not anything I’d want a child to watch. Talk about nightmares!!!
I’ve decided I need to read the book to see if certain characters really did get so much more play than others. And a couple of scenes seemed as if they were added as filler because the director couldn’t think of a better way to explain what was going on. There was nothing smooth about this film but I didn’t feel it was the total disaster that other reviewers apparently did. I have no desire to watch it again but it was a nice reprieve from the other movies I’ve been watching during “Scary Movie Month” at my house.