THE SNOWMAN — Review by Susan Granger

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When the director of a bizarre murder mystery admits that something went wrong, it’s worth noting. Here’s what Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation: “We didn’t get the whole story, and when we started cutting we discovered that a lot was missing. It’s like when you’re making a big jigsaw puzzle and a few pieces are missing, so you don’t see the whole picture.” Alfredson added that the greenlight to shoot came “very abruptly,” and about 10-15% of the screenplay wasn’t even filmed. Which makes for a lot of plot holes. Continue reading…

Based on Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo’s pulpy 2007 thriller, the formulaic script is credited to three screenwriters – Peter Straughan, Hossein Amini and Soren Sveistrup – none of whom have an ear for dialogue or conveying the disorienting time-frame changes.
The intrigue revolves around Norway’s most famous detective, chain-smoking, vodka-swilling Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender), whose chaotic private life involves an art dealer ex, Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg), her sulky teenage son, Oleg (Michael Yates), and new partner, Matthias (Jonas Karlsson).

Joined by the homicide department’s rookie, Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), Hole is on the trail of a serial killer who leaves a snowman figure outside the houses of his chosen victims, all of whom recently terminated pregnancies. Depicted by cinematographer Dion Beebe, the grisly dismemberments are gruesome.

In the meantime, Katrine’s scrutinizing a smarmy industrialist, Arve Stop (J.K. Simmons) who is overseeing Oslo’s bid for the Winter Games; he enjoys taking photos of scared young women on his mobile phone. There’s also creepy doctor Idar Vetleson (David Dencik).
Last but not least, another dissolute, alcoholic detective, Gert Rafto (Val Kilmer), is investigating the same killer’s crimes in the city of Bergen nine years earlier. (Kilmer’s dialogue was dubbed by another actor because Kilmer is recovering from cancer and could not talk intelligibly.)

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Snowman” is a twisted, turgid 2 – with a conclusion that makes no sense whatever, yet sets up for a sequel.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.