Incomplete mess

Arts and Entertainment

“The Snowman” not as chilling as expected

By Alexis Tucker Arts & Entertainment Editor


The thriller shown in the trailers and the dry movie given to the audience are completely different.

The Snowman
Trailers for Tomas Alfredson’s “The Snowman” promisingly showcase an interesting murder mystery and thriller that could have been Oscar-worthy. (Image from

Trailers for Tomas Alfredson’s “The Snowman” promisingly showcase an interesting murder mystery and thriller that could have been Oscar-worthy. In reality, this drama/mystery tries too hard to be thought-provoking and adhere to some surprise, underlying theme, which ultimately causes the film to fall incredibly short. A combination of poor editing, stiff and inhuman characters, a poor script and general incompleteness have snowball effects to making this movie epically terrible.

The script is a hit or miss with some scenes, while most lines are just not good, cheesy or totally unnecessary. “Snowman” shines at showing the audience what is happening without saying anything, but mainly because it has to show the audience as characters just do not speak when they should.

One such scene is that in the beginning where detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is going about his typical day as an alcoholic, insomniac and anti-social guy. While this scene is great at showing and not telling, in the first 45 minutes of the film, only a single character’s name is mentioned, which causes a mysteriously unnecessary confusion.

There are also times when the writers seem to have forgotten about characters
and realize they have to figure out something to do with them in the middle of the movie, which was exceptionally difficult to watch considering their lack of emotion or life.

Many characters are simply unlikeable while any that were better-written are of the disgusting and slimy variety.

Editing is imperative to a cohesive and comprehensive storyline in a movie. With what was given, the editors probably did as best as they possibly could. The cinematography of the movie is beautiful, focusing on many wide shots of the  gorgeous Norwegian scenery.
The color contrast is nice as well, with lots of blacks, blues and whites, which makes the characters stand out more against the background and succeeds at leaving the movie feeling cold as the title suggests.

While the cold contrast is more of a testament to Alfredson, the editing in general is confusing. One of the many editing flaws of the film is its lack of sound, be it in the form of music or dialogue.

The scene changes are also very jumpy and disorienting with very little creativity
between cuts. In the beginning a character leaves their house then it cuts to a mother and son driving into a lake. There was no indication in the editing to show that one caused the other and chronologically, the scene is ambiguous.

Later in the movie, there is a flashback that deals with several major plot points indicated by white words that melt into the background of the snowy, Norwegian terrain. The next flashback doesn’t have any words to indicate that it’s in the past, which relies on the viewer to have been paying close attention to the previous flashbacks and the characters in them to determine when the scene took place. Logically, this renders the audience unable to understand what is going on and when between each scene until the next scene reveals a small piece of information to arrive at some vague conclusion.

(Image from

Good and even mediocre movies keep the audience on the same page as the characters on the screen before them, following a concise storyline. Alfredson even admitted that up to 15 percent of the movie wasn’t even filmed, which results in a blizzard of confusion and an incomplete mess that could have been great.

Overall, “The Snowman” leaves viewers in the cold with its uneventful story and lack of complexity.