Critics Have Nothing Warm to Say About The Snowman

Critics pick apart the plot of this 'thrill-free thriller'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2017 10:35 AM CDT

The Snowman, a film about a detective on the trail of a serial killer slogging around chilly Norway, is getting, well, a wintry reception. And that's putting it kindly. The Tomas Alfredson-directed film, based on the best-selling novel by Norwegian Jo Nesbo, currently has an abysmal 12% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what they're saying:

  • Adam Graham calls the film "the most puzzlingly bad movie of the year." It "plods along so clumsily and aimlessly that it has the feel of something that has been reassembled in post-production by three separate teams," he writes at Detroit News. "Playground snowball fights have more suspense and intrigue," he adds. Planning to see The Snowman anyway? Be warned: "The film's trailer advertises a completely different film," and even include shots that aren't actually in the film.
  • Despite an A-list cast and a "picturesque" Norwegian setting, the film is "not worth slogging through," writes Moira Macdonald at the Seattle Times. She blames a screenplay tailored so that "the first half-hour in particular feels like there's no plot at all." Even after the serial killer plot emerges, odd subplots divert viewers' attention, she writes. You're left with "a puzzle," namely "why all of these talented people [Martin Scorsese is an executive producer] couldn't make a better movie."

  • It's "ugly and nasty," but "the worst is that it's boring and makes no sense," writes Mick LaSalle. He describes several other complaints at the San Francisco Chronicle, including that Michael Fassbender's detective is a bore and the serial killer he's hunting is hardly less so. This leads to a climax that "borders on the hilarious—or at least seems that way to an audience made giddy by two hours of boredom and confusion."
  • Manohla Dargis is no more kind. The Snowman is "a grim, thrill-free thriller, one without a twitch of real feeling and next to no elementary story sense," she writes at the New York Times. Though often pretty to look at, there are multiple "narrative complications" and "no glue" connecting the scenes, resulting in "a leaden, clotted, exasperating mess." She concludes Nesbo's book is "far more complex … than anything in this movie."
(More movie review stories.)

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