This weekend sees a new film with Michael Fassbender opening across the country. It's called The Snowman and early reaction has been, well, cold. The film screened for many critics last night, and the response has not been a positive one. While the movie is based on a popular novel, it doesn't appear the adaptation will have nearly as many fans. One critic wondered if The Snowman was supposed to be self-parody.
It can't be argued that, on paper, The Snowman looks like it could be shooting for awards consideration. It's based on a popular novel. It's got a popular director in Tomas Alfredson, responsible for well-regarded movies like the Oscar-nominated Tinker. Tailor. Soldier Spy. It's got a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor in lead Michael Fassbender, and it's got an Academy Award winner, J.K. Simmons, as well. It deals with an alcoholic cop who is tracking a serial killer as an act of redemption. Reading that description, you might think this was serious awards bait. Most don't seem to think anybody will be biting.
If this was an isolated response, that would be one thing, but several other critics have similar responses. In one critic's case, The Snowman actuallyb caused him to reconsider his entire life to that moment.
That a pretty extreme reaction when it makes a film critic wonder if becoming a film critic was really the right move. Perhaps some other line of work that wouldn't require ever watching The Snowman would have been better.
For what it's worth, director Tomas Alfredson is very aware of the film's problems. He's already publicly stated that the movie's rushed schedule resulted in a significant chunk of the script not getting filmed at all. This left the editors with the unenviable job of trying to make the picture of a jigsaw puzzle picture clear, when a significant number of pieces were missing.
Sometimes the only reaction is the one given by Sam Adams with Slate...
Sam Adams goes on to point out that The Snowman had three-time Academy Award-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker involved in cutting the story together. He credits her with making the film work as well as it does.
While The Snowman has received a handful of positive reviews, those are lukewarm at best. It's too bad, because there maybe could have been a solid movie here, but it looks like we'll never see it.