The Snowman is a disaster. It's not only a disaster, it's an unfathomable disaster. This film had absolutely everything going for it. I've not read the source material, that the film is based on, but it's being hailed as one the best books in its genre here in Norway. The director, Tomas Alfredson, has made some great films in the past and the cast is great. Yet the film is a complete mess.
The film actually looks unfinished. It looks like they had a version ready to go, but then some of the countless number of producers stepped in and told them to redo the whole film. Only that it wasn't enough time for them to actually make the new version comprehensible. There are scene transitions that are shockingly bad. Scenes that arrives and ends out of nowhere. Scenes that are included into the film for some reason that no one knows. Scenes that serves absolutely no pay-off, and are sort of just there for being there's sake. If one then takes a look at the trailer to the film, one can clearly see that huge parts of the dialogue and that some of the scenes from the trailer have been cut out of the film. This tells me that there are huge chunks of material left in some editing room out there, that probably would have caused the film to feel a lot more comprehensible.
It wastes no time on character development. These type of films requires that audience manages to get inside the lead characters head. We need to be a part of the investigation. We need to feel the frustration and hopelessness of the characters. There's quite simply no emotion here. There's nothing to hold on to, and nothing to make you invested. Michael Fassbender's character features a lot of traits that ought to make him an interesting protagonist, but none of it is explored. It's actually quite baffling to see how neglected it all is. The Snowman got a wide range of characters, but none of them serve any other purpose than to serve the plot. Some of them doesn't even feel needed for that sake. Val Kilmer is one of the most useless characters I've seen in quite some time. For some reason, he was even dubbed.
The whole film is entirely built around the plot, and leading up to the revelation of who the snowman killer is. Unfortunately, the film does a poor job of building up the suspense. It's quite frankly boring in huge parts and the revelation is predictable. Aside from the lack of character development and invested emotion (which is very much needed in order to care for a story), the film does a poor job in showcasing the investigation. Too many of the characters are doing things just because. Too much of the film is happening just because. There's very rarely given any reason for why things are happening. The overall plot is easy enough to follow, but in terms of logic it becomes a confusing mess.
The Snowman is a mess. It's hard to understand how they managed to mess it up so badly, but they sure did. Aside from some neat visuals and a decent (if slightly forgettable) score, there's not much to enjoy here.