Magazine article Screen International

'The Snowman': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'The Snowman': Review

Article excerpt

Tomas Alfredson follows up ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ with a damp adaption of Jo Nesbo’s Nordic crime drama

Dir. Tomas Alfredson. UK/Norway, 2017. 120 mins.

The Snowman

Lavishly-funded to a fault, the long-awaited Working Title/Universal adaptation of The Snowman comes to the screen in a blizzard of A-list talent, every frame composed to crystallised perfection. A grizzled Michael Fassbender plays the clench-jawed alcoholic Oslo investigator Harry Hole, Rebecca Ferguson the latest detective to sign onto his team, and Charlotte Gainsbourg his stylish ex-girlfriend. Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series is comprised of page-turning, airport-blockbuster Scandi crime potboilers; Alfredson scorches the seventh, The Snowman, with such art-house intensity that it eventually melts into an exhausted puddle.

It’s hardly The Snowman’s fault, and it’s not the worst offender, but releasing a sadistic film in which ‘loose’ women are nastily and almost fetishistically beheaded in the week of the Harvey Weinstein debacle could hardly be more unfortunately timed

The clue is in the credits, where Thelma Schoonmaker turns up unexpectedly as co-editor (Martin Scorsese produced). Even still, she can’t nudge the film into remembering its raison d’etre as a bleak thriller, with Swedish director Alfredson (Let The Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) losing himself in a flurry of icy landscapes punctuated all too rarely by grisly stagings but never once by palpable tension. It’s a missed opportunity for everyone involved - except for art director Maria Djurkovic and cameraman Dion Beebe who are given ample space to shine while a screenplay credited to Peter Straughan, Hossein Amini and Soren Sveistrup has to fight its way through the Scandi soft furnishings to breathe.

Rolling out globally from this weekend through Universal, there’s enough pedigree here to secure a decent opening and more than enough to roll the film out successfully on VoD, where it could shine. Harry Hole fans, though, may not respond well to Alfredson’s arty take on the nordic noir so brilliantly adapted for TV in thrillers ranging from Wallander to The Killing and The Bridge. …

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