One thing that recent releases have shown us is that a good novel doesn’t always translate into a good film. Ever since Gone Girl was a massive hit in cinemas in 2014, studios have tried to replicate the film’s success by adapting any crime-thriller that sold a handful of copies. It seems that audiences are becoming wary, The Girl On The Train disappointed those who had read the book and those who hadn’t and The Circle didn’t make an impact in theatres or on Netflix. The latest adaption to get the Hollywood makeover is Jo Nesbø‘s novel The Snowman, the acclaimed Norwegian crime-writer has sold millions of copies of his novels all over the world. But unfortunately for The Snowman, the film is a massive disappointment, especially disappointing with such a talented cast.
The film makes a bizarre choice by deciding to stay true to the novel by keeping the setting within Norway, but not casting any Norwegian actors in the parts. The actors don’t even attempt to appear Norwegian, with a variety of English and American actors popping up all over the place. I feel director Tomas Alfredson took a few risks with the film that didn’t pay off, the film was often boring and slow, relying on dramatic visuals over progressive story. Despite the film being boring, the story is over-complicated and hard to follow. Coming out of the film, there are a number of characters that I don’t understand their motive, especially the killer of the story.
I feel sympathetic towards Michael Fassbender, this would have been a great role for the actor, struggling to shake off some of his recent disappointments like Assassin’s Creed. Fassbender doesn’t give a bad performance, but he is let down by a poor script and bad direction. Rebecca Ferguson also gives a good performance, again she is let down by a poor script, as the film progresses I found myself becoming less and less interested in the character. Both actors’ careers won’t be harmed by the impact of this film, and I will look forward to what projects they move onto next.
Trying to understand the plot of the film, there are a number of storylines that not only didn’t make sense, they didn’t seem to add to the overall plot. Chloe Sevigny is used in a unique way, but it seems like her story is pointless, I presumed using a recognisable actress would have meant a meaningful or relevant story. J.K. Simmons’ storyline also confuses me, I admit I still don’t understand if he is linked to the murders or not. Finally, it seemed unnecessary to include Val Kilmer‘s characters storyline, I understand how it linked to the story but it didn’t particularly add anything.
The film structure is completely wrong and takes away from the dramatic tension the film builds up. Although I was surprised by who the murderer was, I didn’t feel any emotional connection the character or the characters that he was harming. Personally, I like crime-thrillers that keep the motives of the killer a secret, slowly unravelling secrets as the film goes on. Where the film fails is by revealing the killer’s motives from the start, despite knowing the killer’s history it didn’t help explain the killer’s motive, adding to the confusion of The Snowman.
After finishing The Snowman, I was embarrassed to have included this in my top 10 films for the rest of 2017 (check it the full list out here). I do give credit to the marketing department behind the film, the trailer made the film out to be a suspenseful thriller, instead, it came out as a confusing mess. The film has a great cast, but most of them are let down by a disappointing screenplay. When even J.K.Simmons can’t save your film, you know you must be doing something wrong. Hopefully, the rest of my top 10 list will live up to my expectations, because The Snowman may not only end up on my worst films of 2017, it may be my biggest disappointment of the year.