Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997) Poster

A 6 y.o. Inuit boy runs off a snowy roof in Copenhagen and dies. Smilla, a half Inuit who lives in the building and knows the boy, looks into it. What makes an acrophobic boy run up on the roof? The clues take her to Greenland.


6.4/10
13,218

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  • Jürgen Vogel in Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)
  • Peter Capaldi in Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)
  • Julia Ormond in Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)
  • Julia Ormond in Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)
  • Julia Ormond in Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)
  • Julia Ormond in Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)

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9 November 2004 | Latheman-9
7
| Two thirds of a great film.
Bille August's "Smilla's Sense of Snow" starts off with great promise. An opening sequence that's a terrific hook segues into an introduction of the character of Smilla Jasperson, played perfectly by the lovely Julia Ormond. Smilla is self-isolated, deeply unhappy, and unapproachable. Her only real friend is the young Inuit boy, Isaiah, who dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, and Smilla determines to uncover the reasons for his death. For the first two reels, this film is a terrific mystery story with good pacing, fine acting, and evocative cinematography. Characters with uncertain motives come and go as the story unfolds, most played by a fine stable of talented actors. But then in the third reel, the film collapses. I'm not talking about a slow descent into mediocrity here; I'm talking about a precipitous nosedive. Out of the blue, the story suddenly switches to an action/thriller format that is poorly written, directed, and edited. New, undeveloped characters are suddenly thrown into the mix, each a deus ex machina as the increasingly unrealistic plot requires. The film's denouement, in which the underlying mystery is revealed, is so scientifically ridiculous both in terms of biology and especially in physics that I felt thoroughly cheated. It's as if the entire enterprise were rushed to completion due to a looming shortage of time, money, and interest. What a pity. Even so, the first two thirds of the film stand up well on their own, and my rating is based on that. Rating: 7/10.

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