Writers: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan, Søren Sveistrup
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Boozy Norwegian cop Harry Hole (Fassbender) is spending most of his days investigating the contents of a vodka bottle when the case of a missing woman drags him from the sidelines and back to what he does best - solving really horrible crimes. And this one looks like it's going to be particularly horrible if the instincts of his new colleague Katrine Bratt (Ferguson) turn out to be correct...
After the recent Flatliners, here's another movie which takes an exceptional cast and strands them in a plodding, by-the-numbers thriller which manages neither to excite nor chill. Yes, there are some gory moments and the plot does contain a bunch of ideas which are conceptually unpleasant but it's all delivered in such a perfunctory way that you'll probably be checking your watch long before the killer is revealed.
Fassbender's excellent but his detective is saddled with the type of crime genre baggage we've seen all too often - he's something of a maverick, he can't sleep, he hits the bottle whenever he's got a spare moment, his previous relationships have been disasters but he's still in touch with his most recent ex and her son, and so on, and so on.
Even so, these well-worn character beats could still have been given fresh life through the writing but the script goes through the motions to a frustrating level and even its attempts to wrong-foot its audience are half-hearted at best. To give an example: Ferguson's new addition to the police department is obsessed with the case - hold on, could she be hiding a secret? Hmm. Guess.
Elsewhere, Sevigny - playing twins - is given virtually nothing to do twice and the flick ultimately blots its copybook by casting J.K. Simmons and then reducing his role to what is almost an extended cameo. His character should arguably be casting a huge shadow over the story but considering his potential for being a major suspect in the investigation there are huge chunks of The Snowman where he doesn't even figure in any sort of discussion.
At almost two hours in length, you'd think The Snowman would cram in the twists and turns, rack up the suspects and pile on the bodies. Unfortunately it doesn't do any of those, lumbering along to a ho-hum confrontation between cop and killer which puts those Harry loves in jeopardy. Even the climax is botched, with proceedings apologetically grinding to a halt as the enterprise literally gets itself on to thin ice, having been there figuratively for about ninety minutes previously.
The one thing at which The Snowman did succeed is that it made me want to go to Norway - the scenery's undeniably beautiful. As for everything else, I wasn't quite prepared for just how underwhelming it would be given the talent involved. What could have been an exhilarating Scandi-noir slay ride through the snow ended up as an unrelentingly dull trudge through a slushy mess.