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Reviewed: ‘The Snowman’

Police-Procedural Thriller with Little Procedure


The Snowman is a police-procedural thriller with little procedure. Based on the eponymous novel from Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s Detective Harry Hole series, the film rides the wave of Scandinavian crime-drama adaptations that crested about five years ago. Michael Fassbender is Hole, the typical heavy-drinking, demon-haunted detective who follows his own rules. He’s on the tail of a serial killer who’s motivated, as usual, by misogyny, and who leaves a snowman as his murder-scene signature. The almost comically hyper-efficient detective hunt that ensues feels like a 10-episode series that was cut down to two hours. The pacing leaves no time to wonder how or why; the most intriguing thing in the mystery is that it pivots on a mobile device used by the Oslo police that looks like a tablet prototype from 1995. The supporting cast includes such disparate company as Val Kilmer and Chloë Sevigny, to expectedly incoherent effect. The Snowman lives up to its implicit promise of a wintry Nordic travelogue — the city of Bergen gets some persuasive advertising — but otherwise, zero snowballs.

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