Here’s last week’s Sindo review of The Snowman, a Scandi-noir thriller based on a popular Jo Nesbo novel. Like having brunost shoved up your nose while your eyes are drenched with aquavit (the film, not my review). The picture above is me weeping after the closing credits.


The Snowman
Cert: 15A

OSLO looks nice. This murder mystery – based on the Jo Nesbo crime bestseller – has lots of shots of pretty, clean streets decked out in seasonal decorations, efficient public transport and tidy, functional residential developments.

We’re trying very hard here because there are scant other virtues to this abominable busted flush of a film whose most interesting facet is that it should misfire despite its considerable talent pool.

As the director of Let The Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tomas Alfredson looked a sure bet. Cinematographer Dion Beebe has a BAFTA nomination on his CV and editor Claire Simpson won an Oscar for Platoon. The cast has something for everyone – Michael Fassbender, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rebecca Ferguson, Toby Jones, JK Simmons, even Val Kilmer. And surely, with the Millenium trilogy fading the time was right to bring another Scandi-noir to the big screen.

System failures abound, from the glassy, TV-drama visual finish and horrid CGI, to the abrupt, stilted editing that halts any flow to the cluttered tale. The cast look as lost as we are.

Fassbender is tortured detective Harry Hole. A woman has gone missing and a serial killer who builds snowmen at the scene of his crimes may be involved. Harry and partner Katrine (Ferguson) investigate as Simmons’ shifty businessman skulks in the background. As for Kilmer, the less said the better.

You’ll recoil in horror but for all the wrong reasons.


First published in the Sunday Independent


Published by

Hilary A White

Dublin-based arts journalist and reviewer, specialising in film, books, music and human-interest stories. Sunday Independent / Irish Independent / State.ie / RTE Radio 1 / Today FM

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