Ah snowmen. Who doesn’t remember waking up on the first snow day of the winter season, prancing out into the front yard, erecting (immature giggle) a malformed, asymmetrical stack of brownish ice, and lovingly anthropomorphizing your new creation with a whimsical name and backstory?
I don’t, because I grew up in Florida, but I’ll bet almost of none of you have skim boarded across a retention pond during a tropical storm. But I digress. My point, however, is that having grown up in Florida, snowmen were, to me, a mythic construct representing life and death and the complexities of the human psyche, which is why I was mildly looking forward to the latest Scandinavian crime novel turned feature film, “The Snowman.”
Oh my sweet Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, have mercy on my soul, The Snowman was a truly bad movie.
It’s not often that I give that label to a movie. Sure there are plenty of horrible films released every year, but usually they are understandably bad: dumb concepts, low budgets, inexperienced actors and directors getting their feet wet in the studio system, etc. but The Snowman is bad because it had everything going for it: Michael Fassbender leading what is supposed to be a tense, physiological hunt for a serial killer who parades his victims as snowmen, set in the cold, desolate wasteland of Norway, directed by an experienced director responsible for one of the best horror and spy films of the last decade in “Let the Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” respectively. On paper what else could you want? Well I’m assuming that was the experiment they were trying to run: how poorly can we make a film with so much going for it?
So lets bobsled into this movie deeper (I don’t what kind of sayings you northerners use; the nuances of winter are lost on me).
The plot and story beats of this film were unintelligible. With every successive scene, I found myself wondering: “How did we get here? Why is this happening?” And that’s exactly why this was a bad movie, because it fundamentally, and therefore, objectively was a vision-less and message-less story with a maladroit script. This plot had more holes in it then a Bosnian minefield.
Furthermore (I read a passage of Shakespeare the other day; clearly my IQ has risen, no?), the story from start to finish was just a slow, meandering, cold and pointless excuse to pay Magneto money to act (which acting-wise he’s fine). There’s no heart, no emotion, and therefore, no reason to care even slightly about any of our characters. Every “reveal” or “over-turned rock” in the investigation only leaves you more confused as to how the story, logically, even reached this point. Ancillary characters came and went that I’m still, 24 hours later, trying desperately to figure out what consequence they had to anything or anyone (like seriously, I’ve got my cork-board and red yarn working overtime in my underground conspiracy bunker). A plastic recreation of Val Kilmer shows up in flashback sequences that are woven into the main story with skill of a blind camel performing heart surgery, Oh and worst of all, I kept reminding myself that there’s suppose to be a serial killer doing something, somewhere in this movie. I’m pretty sure the writers forgot about him too. They got lost somewhere around page 15 of the screenplay fantasizing about J.K. Simmons winning Oslo the Winter Olympics. Yeah, this film had no idea what is was or what it was supposed to be doing at most points.
From a technical standpoint, this was a sub-par effort at best as well. The editing of scenes and sequences were noticeably inept, and if you ever want to see what bad ADR (additional dialogue recording; its a term use cultured folk like to throw around) looks like, then get ready to laugh or vomit each time Val Kilmer rears his plastic countenance. Like (I’ve morphing into a valley girl), if you’ve ever watched an old Kung-Fu movie with English dubbing, it’s like that, but worse.
And to cap it all off, without spoiling too much, (although this movie hardly deserves such courtesy) the killer is overcome by shear, unplanned accident with no overarching themes or character arcs (not that there were any up to this point anyway) tied into its happenings.
But I really didn’t care. Which brings me to my final backhanded compliment of a point. The Snowman did succeed in one way: I had no emotional or intellectual investment in any character or the story as a whole. In my opinion, that’s a feat in of itself. Even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie was able to engage me slightly. And that’s how you know The Snowman is a frozen mound of brownish byfrost with a little hint of yellow caked onto the side.
With Channel 7 KBL News, I’m Madd Matt, signing off, and wishing each and everyone of you a dandy good weekend.
*Roll credits, and pan up and away from the news desk as I organize papers and talk to my co hosts over newsroom music*
P.S. I still haven’t seen Frozen, and I have no intentions of doing so at this point in my life. *Begins laughing manically*