'The Snowman': What the Critics Are Saying

The reviews for Michael Fassbender starrer The Snowman are in, and the general takeaway is that the film, based on Jo Nesbo's 2007 best-seller, falls flat. The Universal and Working Title film, from Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and executive producer Martin Scorsese, follows a detective (Fassbender) who teams up with a new recruit (Rebecca Ferguson) to track down a serial killer who builds a snowman each time he strikes.

The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Dalton calls the film, which released on Friday, "cold and lifeless" in his review: "For all its high-caliber talent mix, The Snowman is a largely pedestrian affair, turgid and humorless in tone. The cast share zero screen chemistry, much of the dialogue feels like a clunky first draft and the wearily familiar plot is clogged with clumsy loose ends."

Dalton also predicted that "critical reaction will be frosty, and Universal's reported hopes of launching a new franchise seem likely to melt away."

The film currently has a 10 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The New York Post's Sara Stewart writes in her review, "This adaptation is so sloggy it feels like wading through thigh-deep snowfall, stained scarlet from all the gratuitous gore" while The New York Times' Manohla Dargis calls the film a "leaden, clotted, exasperating mess."

Newsday's Rafer Guzman called the film "dreary as a Nordic winter, and almost as long."

Some critics questioned how the film's solid source material and impressive cast including Fassbender, Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jonas Karlsson and J.K. Simmons combined for such an unimpressive film. The Toronto Star's Peter Howell writes, "Such abundant talent, yet what we get on the screen is like a snow cone made with horse urine."

The Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang also agreed that the film's ensemble was stellar, noting "gifted collaborators" like cinematographer Dion Beebe, but "still managed to emerge with one of the more disturbingly inept motion pictures released by a major studio this year."

The Scandanavian crime thriller was "icy, mostly lifeless waste" according to IndieWire's Mike McCahill. He adds, "For all the considerable nous assembled either side of the camera, no one can rescue it from its own mediocrity: if this were the opening act of a TV miniseries, you'd be exploring other channels some time between the second and third ad breaks."

Chang also expressed that the film possibly had potential and noted that Alfredson spoke publicly of having to film on a rushed schedule, which may have impacted the film. "There's probably a good movie or several buried in the frigid wilds of Nesbo's fiction, and with more time and cultural nuance and fewer cooks in the kitchen, it might well be realized."

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