Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Release Date: January 16, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
From executive producer Martin Scorsese, The Snowman is based on Jo Nesbø’s New York Times bestselling thriller series. When an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Michael Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit (Rebecca Ferguson), the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.
Based upon the bestselling book series by Jo Nesbø (and curiously enough based on the seventh book in the series specifically) ‘The Snowman’ accompanies talented detective Harry Hole (Fassbender), a drunk yet outstanding cop who may play mostly by his own rules but nonetheless repeatedly delivers impressive results. Accompanied by a brilliant new recruit named Katrine Bratt (Ferguson) assigned to his task force, Harry soon finds himself hunting a disturbed murderer dubbed “The Snowman Killer” who is known for targeting women with children during the active snow and always leaving an ominous snowman somewhere near the scene. Struggling to uncover a pattern or motive, Harry must delve into an old cold case that just might be related in order to find some much needed clues before the clever killer who can’t help but toy with the detective claims yet another victim.
Directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) from a screenplay by Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Hossein Amini (Drive) and Søren Sveistrup (TV’s The Killing) which was based upon the novel of the same name written by Jo Nesbø respectively, Alfredson does a quite capable job at the helm of ‘The Snowman’ with what he has available to him and at the very least manages to capture the breathtaking natural beauty and other similar elements with ease. The film also features a cast comprised of numerous talented individuals and includes Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl On The Train), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac), Val Kilmer (The Salton Sea), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and more, the majority delivering more than competent performances in each of their respective roles, even if many of them don’t appear to be given a great deal to work with at times.
‘The Snowman’ is certainly a gorgeous movie featuring no shortage of breathtaking scenery and landscapes. An enjoyable crime thriller with a solid mystery at its core that definitely has its moments, yet unfortunately also has a fair amount working against it. Albeit definitely suffering from its share of faults including a notably sloppy and inorganic pattern and tone, along with some truly incoherent and baffling moments, it’s also not quite the abysmal mess many would have you believe and still manages to deliver an enjoyable thriller with its share of twists and brutal turns, as well as some potentially interesting characters, if only they had been granted a bit more development and background within. Noteworthy director Tomas Alfredson does a pretty decent job guiding along the tale and capturing the constant beauty often on prominent display and his guidance is further boosted by a stellar cast led by the talented Michael Fassbender, but sadly even this wealth of talented individuals is unable to rescue much of the film from itself. Unarguably lacking in many respects and far from great, I would still urge folks who tend to enjoy similar detective crime/thrillers or are fans of the key cast members to consider giving it a watch at some point should the opportunity present itself, although it’s probably unnecessary to go out of your way to do so immediately. I would additionally recommend that those considering a purchase try and make sure you’ve seen the film prior to coughing up the funds on a copy of the Blu-ray release just to be safe, even if the film isn’t nearly as horrid as many would have you believe.
Overall, ‘The Snowman’ is a fairly decent thriller with breathtaking scenery and a talented cast to boot. It’s far from perfect and suffers from an uneven pacing and tone, as well as a painful lack of context and individuality in the characters, but it’s also certainly not the utter train wreck many suggest and still manages to be a an enjoyable thriller with plenty of background beauty shining through courtesy of the expansive, snowy landscapes. The film certainly has some noticeable issues, but I would still recommend ‘The Snowman’ to those who enjoy similar detective focused crime thrillers with a dark mystery at their core. Even with its sloppy tone and occasionally confusing moments, it still offers up a sufficiently entertaining and dark thriller that while perhaps not worth going too far out of your way to check out (I definitely wouldn’t suggest a blind purchase) it’s still likely to prove worth your time should you happen to come across it on your favorite streaming service or premium channel at some point down the road.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Snowman’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty wonderful as a whole and provides a sharp and detailed presentation throughout that captures the snowy texture and gorgeous locale quite splendidly. It holds up remarkably well even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never causing anything that might be occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack compliments the film quite well, offering a clean, crisp and fairly active audio presentation from start to finish. It consistently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send wind rushing past, along with other nature elements, some crowd activity and the occasional gunshots zipping throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and always making certain that any dialogue or additional audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a wonderful 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Snowman’ includes some decent extras in the way of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Cast of Characters’ (running approximately 8 minutes in length), ‘Creating Jo Nesbø’s World’ (running approximately 4 minutes), ‘The Snowman Killer’ (approximately 4 minutes), ‘Norwegian Landscape’ (7 minutes) and ‘Stunt Files: The Sinking Lake’ (2 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 5.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘The Snowman’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment