The Snowman is a big, convoluted batch of yellow snow cones.

THE SNOWMAN is probably the biggest shock movie of the year. One of the most anticipated movies with everything going for it. But then it released and has been decimated by the public and reviewers of the world. Not even Kernel Blake could find any pleasure in it. He reviews this momentous flop out now from the fine folks at Universal Pictures Australia. THE SNOWMAN is rated MA15+ and runs for 119mins. Enjoy Blake’s review…….all the best……Salty.


We were promised a tense, psychological crime drama, in the vein of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Adapted from an acclaimed master of Scandinavian bestselling thriller novels and helmed by a promising director. It was to feature an all-star cast, including Oscar winners. How could THE SNOWMAN possibly be a bad film?

Quite easily as it turns out.


The Snowman Michael Fassbender image
Michael Fassbender


Set in the frozen tundra of Norway, THE SNOWMAN begins with a young boy and his mother, being visited by the boys ‘uncle’, a local policeman. Bringing supplies to the remote homestead and teaching the young boy through brutal techniques, he appears to be a father figure to the boy, in more ways than one.

Through an encounter the boy was not supposed to witness, the uncle leaves the family in anger whilst the mother and child give chase. Ultimately, tragedy occurs and the boy is left orphaned in the remote wilderness. Skip forward to present day and we are introduced to Harry Hole, yes that is the main characters name, played by Michael Fassbender.

Hole is a legendary detective in the Oslo police force, although a horrible drunk who sleeps in parks and flies solo. When a young new detective joins the force, Rebecca Ferguson (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION), she begins investigating the mysterious disappearance of women in and around Oslo.

With no immediate connection between the missing women, Hole receives an anonymous letter signed off by “The Snowman.” The letter taunts Harry, letting him know he’s being watched and can do nothing to protect these women. When snowmen are found near the kidnap locations, Hole and new partner Katrine set out to stop The Snowman before more women turn up dead.


The Snowman Rebecca Ferguson image
Rebecca Ferguson



Intertwined with the main story, a subplot involving Norwegian philanthropist Arve Stop (JK Simmons, WHIPLASH), creepy gynaecologists, a bid for the World Winter Cup and Russian hookers sends us to flashbacks years earlier in Bergen. Here, alcoholic cop (sense a theme here?) Rafto, played by the re-animated corpse of Val Kilmer, is investigating the disappearance of Stop’s work colleague and alleged lover. A woman found dead, cut to pieces, near a snowman.

If the plot sounds a little convoluted and ham-fisted, you’re not wrong, most of what I just described has no real bearing on the outcome of the film and aside from a slight connection with the murders, is forgotten about pretty much as soon as it ends. Kilmer’s character is incredibly baffling, seeming dubbed for inexplicable reasons, Zombie Kilmer shambles around the screen briefly before trying to smoke a shotgun. And failing. Again, plot points are thrown at the screen with no real continuity, it’s baffling.

In the end, the killer is found out and apprehended in possibly the most anti-climactic ending to a film in a long time, with no motives or reasoning given for his murderous rampage. Despite the reasonably average length running time of THE SNOWMAN, it honestly felt like it lasted three times as long, the pacing as glacial as the wintery Norwegian landscape.


The Snowman Movie image



Fassbender is having a reasonably tough time of things at the moment, with a string of duds going back the last few years. THE SNOWMAN doesn’t end his dry spell, Fassbender sleepwalks through this film as the lone wolf, alcoholic detective. Ironic really, as his character, Harry, is an insomniac.

Ferguson is solid as Hole’s ambitious partner, but her fate is left to interpretation as again, the film just plain forgets to wrap that arc up. Kilmer, as I mentioned, honestly looks like he was just exhumed in a forgettable few minutes on screen with only JK Simmons providing much character in his brief time on screen.

Director Tomas Alfredson who helmed the brilliant LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and acclaimed TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, has publicly come out to bemoan the filming of THE SNOWMAN as being rushed and cut to pieces in the editing room. And it shows. The one positive, albeit a small one, the film at times looks spectacular, with the beautifully shot Norwegian wilderness and cities in which the film takes place.

THE SNOWMAN is at times an incoherent mess and just a dull slog. Based on crime thriller maestro, Jo Nesbø’s bestselling novel THE SNOWMAN, you’d like to think that the book is worthy of something far more involving than this film. His previously adapted book HEADHUNTERS is a fantastic film and one I’d recommend you go and watch instead of this latest effort.


The Snowman J.K. Simmons image
J.K. Simmons



For fans of Nesbø, or crime thrillers in general, don’t waste your time with THE SNOWMAN. With all that talent, it just goes to show that you can’t just rely on big names to make a good film. Instead of being a chilling, psychological thriller, we just ended up with a big, convoluted batch of yellow snow cones.





Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life. Like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. He can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.