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Film review: The Snowman

Film & TV

This mediocre adaptation of Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s serial murder thriller owes most of its intrigue to the novel rather than the cast, scriptwriters or director.

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With a callow screenplay and some pretty unconvincing interactions between several minor characters, the Snowman is made viewable mostly by the mystery built into Nesbø’s interwoven plot line.

Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) – a formerly celebrated, now washed-up homicide detective – launches an investigation into the sudden disappearance of a woman from her home. He acquires a brilliant protegé, Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), who is wary of him.

As the pair gets closer to discovering the identity of the killer with the esoteric icy trademark, disappearances escalate to gruesome murders.

Ferguson’s performance as a talented investigator – with a secret – is the standout of the film.

Australian cinematographer Dion Beebe (who framed Chicago and Edge of Tomorrow) delivers gorgeous, sweeping, majestic panoramas of Norway’s mountains and icy plains, against the bleak interiors of violent homes.

Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (best known for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) gives us a series of victim vignettes, revealing the lives of several unhappy women and a few creepy, absent or angry men.

Meanwhile, Hole attempts to sustain rocky relationships with his stepson Oleg (Michael Yates) and his former partner Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg) – interactions which, like the film overall, are engaging at first but grow increasingly difficult to believe. The dialogue is often painfully clichéd, and becomes more so as the film wears on.

Worse, minor and major twists are clearly foreshadowed – and nothing quite kills a thriller like knowing what happens next.

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