what's wrong with the movie "Snowman" in 5 steps

It has nothing to do with a book. It has nothing to do with a good movie either. "Snowman" was one of those books that I (and probably million fans) was longing to see on the screen. It's on a scale with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Twilight. Worldwide phenomenon. So the expectations were high, at least for me. But even if you simply want to watch a good thriller, you will be disappointed as well. Let's try to talk about this movie in 5 steps.

Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole; source: www.spidersweb.pl

Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole; source: www.spidersweb.pl

Step 1: what is it all about

First things first. "Snowman" is the seventh book from a book series about detective Harry Hole, written by a Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. This volume is considered to be the breaking point - it brought fame and success to Nesbø. From now on the Holemania lasts.

"Snowman" is about a serial killer, who murders unfaithful women. Usually they are married with kids. Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender), who at this stage of his life fights (again) with alcoholism and the fact of losing Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg), receives a letter from the killer, kind of an invitation to play in hide and seek. Harry works on the case with Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) who also tries to solve a case from her past. Thanks to this we can look at poorly preserved face of Val Kilmer, starring as Gert Rafto, former star of the Bergen police. In addition to that Harry and Katrine investigate a case of women trafficing, what leads them to Arve Støp (J.K. Simmons). To add a cherry on top, Harry has personal problems. He tries to remain close with Rakel's son, Oleg (Michael Yates), despite the fact that she has a new partner, Matthias (Jonas Karlsson). 

Step 2: I am not objective

I read all books about Harry Hole. With "Snowman" he became one of the best crime story authors out there. Maybe it is not my favorite volume, simply because this one initiated the cycle of only good books about a detective from Oslo. It has all I need - great plot, expressive characters, unexpected twist. Nesbø is playing with the reader. He forces you to pay attention to every word and then, when you are certain of something, he changes everything with one word (fennel, for example).

Don't get me wrong. Of course I would love to see a proper reflection of the book on the screen. But I wouldn't mind the changes in the story if they were making still a good movie. I don't want this review to be about differences between the book and the script. So I will just say that what was kept from the book were the characters names. Thank you, now let's go over to the movie itself.

Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) and Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg); source: www.spidersweb.pl

Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) and Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg); source: www.spidersweb.pl

Step 3: problems

  • casting

Before watching the movie, I liked only one choice for the cast - J.K. Simmons. It was until I saw that his character in the movie was totally different from the book. His potential was wasted, nevertheless he had the only line that made the audience laugh. Fassbender was kind of a copy of Brandon from "Shame" - isolated, emotionally unstable, with constant pain expression on his face. He and Gainsbourg had no chemistry between each other, no sign of a great lovers that are not together due to the reason. I could write the same complaints to every other character - they all were one-dimensional and stodgy, which brings us to the second problem.

  • the script

Three writers, a cooperation with Jo Nesbø. What went wrong? I skip the fact, that the plot barely resembles what was going on in the book. It looked like the screenwriters thought the less the actors speak the better for the tension. Not at all. The viewer cannot understand many events or actions undertaken by the characters, because they don't talk about it. There is no deduction process regarding the investigation. Like the screenwriter forgot that in this movie there was no story teller, explaining, for example, Harry's thoughts. So the relation with Rakel happens just like that, the killer is caught just like that. Harry is no longer the main character, he somehow blends in. As a viewer of the movie I did not see the great and destructive mind of the detective, as I saw as a reader..

Arve Støp (J.K. Simmons) and Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), source: www.imdb.com

Arve Støp (J.K. Simmons) and Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), source: www.imdb.com

Step 4: Is there a problem with the director? 

I was thinking about that point, as I have already seen another Tomas Alredson's movie and did not find it exqhuisite either. In both Alfredson's movie the tension was crucial and I missed it in both cases. Here I am willing to blame the script more than the director. Nevertheless all scenes seemed static (you know, not always you can put the thrilling music in the background and count on that it will do all the work).

Step 5: what should I do?
/the trailer looks nice/
/i loved the book/

/i love michael fassbender/
/my friends want to go and see it together/
/i need inspiration how to deal with my love life/

Can I say something nice about the movie? 

Yes. It runs fast. 

And seriously, the pictures are nice. Having said that, I come back to the case of Varg Veum, where I wrote, that at some point the director realized that he is in Norway and has beautiful surroundings to show. In "Snowman" they know it all the time, although, again because of Varg Veum, I am an expert of recognizing Bergen after a second. Do you really have only two angles of showing this city? 

When it comes to picture of Oslo - after the screening you will know, that they have sculptures there (there is a scene, few minutes long, where they show sculptures in one park covered in snow. W.H.Y.). 

My opinion of the movie? Don't watch it. If you have two hours to spare, take a book. The greatest ideas for creative killing are there, none of them was transferred to the screen.

Yep, we shared the same face with Michael; source: www.wyborcza.pl

Yep, we shared the same face with Michael; source: www.wyborcza.pl

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