Monday, 16 October 2017

The Snowman (2017)

A serial killer is on the loose and freely building snowmen and decapitating women in Norway. So in steps alcoholic detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) to solve the case.

Death in a snowy landscape. It seems to be the 'in' thing this season with 'Wind River' and 'The Mountain Between Us' having popped up in the last month and there's 'Murder on the Orient Express' just around the corner. This latest one is a crime drama based on a book by Jo Nesbo and, while it may not be as dire as 'The Mountain Between Us', it's a disappointingly pathetic piece of work despite all the names involved.

But before I go into the problems, let me discuss the positive aspects. The landscapes look nice. As do the bridges. Makes me want to drive around Norway in the winter. Right, now that I've got that out of the way, what's the problem with the film? Well, everything really (except the aforementioned landscape).

I don't know how faithful and adaptation this is. I'm told the book is meant to be much better. I would hope so because I'd fail to understand why something this generic and insipid would be so popular. It features the usual alcoholic detective going about covering the mystery in what you wouldn't exactly call the most efficient or in-depth way (his approach feels awkward at best) missing all the easy clues on the way. Things then take the predictably personal turn for various characters and the whole thing should all be settled in a few minutes.

Alas, the film decides it wants to lurch to the two hour mark so it pads itself out with meaningless deviations with side characters and plots that serve little to no purpose other than waste more time and act as a silly attempt to distract the audience. Of course, that's assuming the audience are still engaged enough to be distracted. I'd lost interest fairly early on once I had realised just how typical it was all going to be (which, to be fair, was made clear in the trailers). I didn't really care who was doing what and why. But at least I had the snow in the background to keep me occupied.

Done well enough, even a very familiar crime drama can work as a piece of entertainment. However, this is not one of those cases. This is a tedious, uninspired, and ill-conceived waste of time. It revisits a whole bunch of cliches from its genre and does so with no enthusiasm or purpose. It's impossible not to be bored by the banality of it all.

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