The Snowman (2017 film)

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The Snowman
The Snowman (2017) poster.jpg
British theatrical release poster
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on The Snowman
by Jo Nesbø
Starring
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Dion Beebe
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • 7 October 2017 (2017-10-07) (Haifa)
  • 13 October 2017 (2017-10-13) (United Kingdom)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $35 million[1]
Box office $43.1 million[1]

The Snowman is a 2017 British psychological crime thriller film, directed by Tomas Alfredson and written by Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan and Søren Sveistrup, and based on the novel of the same name by Jo Nesbø. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, J. K. Simmons, and Chloë Sevigny, and follows a detective who tries to find a killer who uses snowmen as his calling card.

Principal photography began on 18 January 2016 in Norway. The film premiered on 7 October 2017 at the Haifa International Film Festival, and was theatrically released by Universal Pictures, on 13 October 2017 in the United Kingdom and 20 October 2017 in the United States. It grossed $43 million worldwide against a $35 million budget, and it was widely panned by critics, who called it "clichéd and uninvolving."[2]

Plot[edit]

At a remote cabin amidst heavy snowfall, a brutal man named Jonas confronts his lover about their illegitimate son who leaves the house and builds a snowman. The woman threatens to tell Jonas' family about the child, and Jonas leaves angrily in his car. The woman and her son pursue him, but lose him in the snow. She lets go of the steering wheel, causing the car to drive off the road onto a frozen lake. The boy manages to escape from the sinking car, but the woman stays inside in an apparent suicide.

Harry Hole is a brilliant but troubled inspector with the Norwegian Police Service's Oslo district, struggling with the aftermath of his break-up with his girlfriend Rakel and her new relationship with Mathias, a renowned surgeon. Harry was very close to her son Oleg, who is unaware that Harry is his biological father. Oleg mentions, on an outing with Harry, that his mother (Rakel) refused to let him search for his father. Harry receives a mysterious letter signed with the drawing of a snowman, and is paired with a brilliant new recruit, Katrine Bratt. The two are assigned to a missing persons case of Birte Becker, who vanished from her house after being followed home by a red Volvo.

The police receive a report of another missing woman named Sylvia Otterson. When Harry and Katrine travel to her farmhouse to investigate, they find her alive and well. They brush the report off as a prank call and leave, but shortly thereafter a figure wearing a black ski mask stalks and kills Sylvia outside her house, using a wire fastening harness to decapitate her. Harry receives another call about Otterson, and returning to the farmhouse comes face-to-face with her identical twin sister Ane. They search the property and find Sylvia's beheaded corpse inside her barn, and her head atop a snowman inside an empty storage tank.

Connecting the letter with the presence of a snowman at the crime scene of the murder with the snowman at the scene of the first woman's (Birte) disappearance, Harry's research leads him to a previous case in Bergen, involving a similar set of circumstances. He travels to meet the case's investigating officer Gert Rafto, but upon arrival learns that Rafto died eight years prior through what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that the case went cold after his apparent suicide. Inside Rafto's old cabin, he finds a jacket and a photograph that lead him to realize that Katrine is Rafto's daughter, and is likely out to find her father's real killer.

Katrine believes that Arve Støp, a business tycoon implicated in the earlier case, is behind her father's death. Støp is involved in a high-class prostitution ring overseen by Idar Vetelsen, a doctor working at a clinic all the current victims had visited. Birte's cell phone begins transmitting again, and the signal is traced to Vetelsen's house. When the police raid it, they find Vetelsen dead of a shotgun blast to the head, along with the remains of Birte and another victim named Hegen Dahl.

Katrine begins to seduce Støp at a fundraiser event, and he asks her to meet him in his hotel room. She sets a trap for him inside, but she is attacked and drugged by a masked figure who severs her right finger and uses it to unlock the biometric security measures on her work tablet, wiping all the data from it. The next morning, Harry sees the impression of a snowman atop his snow-covered car, and inside finds Katrine dead in the driver's seat.

Rakel tells Harry that Oleg has run away after Harry missed a school camping trip which he was supposed to have gone to. Oleg stays at a friend's house, and when Rakel arrives to tell Harry the two kiss and almost have sex. Mathias calls to tell Rakel that he is picking up Oleg to take him home. Upon returning home, Mathias drugs and ties up Rakel, then does the same to Oleg, taking both of them to a cottage in Telemark. Harry locates the cottage, where he finds that Mathias has Rakel and Oleg hostage with the cutter to Rakel's throat. Mathias is revealed as the boy at the start of the film, who grew to hate his mother due to her abandonment of him via her death. Harry attacks Mathias and manages to get the cutter off of Rakel's neck, losing a finger in the process. Mathias escapes and Harry gives pursuit, chasing him onto the ice. Mathias manages to shoot Harry, but the ice beneath Mathias' feet suddenly cracks and breaks apart, dropping him into the water below and dragging him under the current to his death.

After having his injuries treated, Harry returns to the police precinct, and volunteers for a new homicide case.

Cast[edit]

Jo Nesbø (the writer of the novel on which the film is based) was supposed to have a small cameo, but his scenes were cut.[3]

Production[edit]

Pre-production[edit]

According to Variety, the initial hope with the film to was to create a series in the vein of the Alex Cross film adaptations.[4] Screen Rant has suggested that the film was inspired by the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.[5]

For a while, Martin Scorsese was attached to direct,[6] although he dropped out in 2013.[5] The next year, Tomas Alfredson was hired to direct.[7] Prior to Alfredson, the studio had considered Morten Tyldum and Baltasar Kormákur, although they declined.[8] By September 2015, Michael Fassbender was in talks to star in the film,[9] and Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Gainsbourg were in talks to join the cast by that October and December, respectively.[10][11]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the film commenced on 18 January 2016 in Oslo, Norway.[12] Fassbender was spotted on set on 21 January, in the Barcode area of Oslo, shooting a scene on the tram.[13] A large scene depicting a party, which required over 300 extras, was shot in Oslo City Hall on 5 February.[14] Production moved to Rjukan on 9 February, and to Bergen on 23 February. Filming in Bergen including scenes on the mountain of Ulriken, Bryggen and the Skansen firestation. Production moved back to Oslo for the remainder of filming, in mid-March. This included scenes at Restaurant Schrøder, where Harry Hole is a regular in the novel series.[15] Filming also took place in Drammen, and on the Atlantic Ocean Road, and ended on 1 April 2016.[16]

Reshoots and additional filming took place in Norway during the spring of 2017.

In response to the negative critical reviews, Alfredson blamed the short filming schedule, in which 10% to 15% of the screenplay remained unfilmed. This led to narrative problems when editing commenced:

Alfredson also stated that he had a lack of time to prepare the film properly:

Marketing[edit]

Universal Pictures released a poster on 18 July 2017, and the first trailer for the film premiered the following day. An international trailer was released on 5 September. The original poster, featuring a doodle of a snowman and a note to the police, became a popular Internet meme shortly after its release.

Release[edit]

The Snowman premiered at the Haifa International Film Festival on 7 October 2017. It was theatrically released on 13 October 2017 in the United Kingdom and 20 October 2017 in the United States.[19]

Box office[edit]

The Snowman grossed $6.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $36.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $43.1 million, against a production budget of $35 million.[1]

In the United States and Canada, The Snowman was released alongside Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, Geostorm, and Only The Brave, and was expected to gross around $10 million from 1,813 theaters in its opening weekend.[20] However, after making $1.3 million on its first day (including $270,000 from Thursday night previews), weekend predictions were lowered to $4 million. The film went on to debut to $3.2 million, finishing 8th at the box office.[21] In its second weekend, the film dropped 64% to $1.2 million, falling to 17th place at the box office.[22] The film was then pulled from 1,291 theaters in its third week, and fell 86% to $167,685, finishing 33rd.[23]

Critical response[edit]

The Snowman was widely panned by critics, who derided what they saw as the film's scattered and incomprehensible plot line, as well as a lack of direction for its main cast members.[24] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 8%, based on 165 reviews, with an average rating of 3.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A mystery that feels as mashed together and perishable as its title, The Snowman squanders its bestselling source material as well as a top-notch ensemble cast."[25] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 23 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D" on an A+ to F scale.[21]

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a negative review, writing "There's probably a good movie or several buried in the frigid wilds of Nesbø's fiction, and with more time and cultural nuance and fewer cooks in the kitchen, it might well be realized. Watching this bungled slopsicle of a movie, it's hard not to conclude that somebody let the wrong one in."[27] Variety's Guy Lodge also called the film a disappointment, saying: "If The Snowman were merely a chilly, streamlined precis of a knottier page-turner, it could stolidly pass muster. The sad surprise here, considering how deftly Alfredson and Straughan previously navigated the far more serpentine plot machinations of a John le Carré classic, is the snowballing incoherence of proceedings."[28] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called the film a "leaden, clotted, exasperating mess".[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "The Snowman (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 December 2017. 
  2. ^ Giles, Jeff (19 October 2017). "Only the Brave Is a Powerful Tribute". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  3. ^ "Jo Nesbø har fått rolle i Hollywood-filmen "Snømannen"". VG Nett. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Kroll, Justin. "Michael Fassbender in Talks to Star in Adaptation of Jo Nesbo's 'The Snowman'". Variety. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Hembree, Kyle. "Martin Scorsese Will Not Direct 'The Snowman'". Screenrant. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  6. ^ Scott Roxborough (21 November 2011). "Martin Scorsese to Direct 'The Snowman' for Working Title". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "'Let the Right One In' Director Boards Jo Nesbo's 'The Snowman' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  8. ^ Han, Angie. "Tomas Alfredson Boards 'The Snowman', Replacing Martin Scorsese". Slashfilm. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  9. ^ Ford, Rebecca (8 September 2015). "Michael Fassbender in Talks to Star in Crime Drama 'The Snowman' (Exclusive)". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Jaafar, Ali (14 October 2015). "Rebecca Ferguson In Talks To Star In 'The Snowman' Opposite Michael Fassbender; Eyeing Other Big Roles". deadline.com. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Jaafar, Ali (16 December 2015). "Charlotte Gainsbourg In Talks To Join 'The Snowman' Opposite Michael Fassbender & Rebecca Ferguson". Deadline. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Filming starts for Nesbø's 'Snowman'". www.newsinenglish.no. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Her er Fassbender som Harry Hole på "Snømannen"-innspilling". VG Nett. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "Spiller inn gigantisk "Snømannen"-scene - men statistene får ingen informasjon på forhånd". Dagbladet. 5 February 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  15. ^ "Nå spilles en av de mest krevende scenene i "Snømannen" inn". Dagbladet. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  16. ^ "Snømannen ferdig innspilt". Radio Rjukan. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Cotter, Padraig (October 17, 2017). "The Snowman Director Criticizes 'Too Short' Filming Schedule". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 21, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Eisenberg, Eric (October 18, 2017). "Why The Snowman Has So Many Problems, According To The Director". CinemaBlend. Retrieved October 21, 2017. 
  19. ^ Busch, Anita (25 April 2017). "Universal's 'Half To Death' & 'The Snowman' Swap Slots; 'Insidious: Chapter 4' Moves Off 2017 Schedule – Update". Deadline. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  20. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (18 October 2017). "Boo 2!' To Shut Down Expensive 'Geostorm' In Crowded Weekend – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 October 2017. 
  21. ^ a b Anthony D'Alessandro. "'Boo 2! A Madea Halloween' Reaps $21M+ During October Dumping Ground At The B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 22 October 2017. 
  22. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro. "Horror Has Few Scares At B.O. As 'Jigsaw' Dulls To $16M+, 'Suburbicon' Condemned With D- CinemaScore". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 29 October 2017. 
  23. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro. "'Thor: Ragnarok' Flexes His Box Office Muscles To $120M-$122M Opening – Early Sunday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  24. ^ "'The Snowman' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying". Variety. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  25. ^ "The Snowman (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 8 March 2018. 
  26. ^ "The Snowman Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 October 2017. 
  27. ^ Chang, Justin (19 October 2017). "Michael Fassbender won't melt your heart in the dreadfully incoherent thriller 'The Snowman'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  28. ^ "Film Review: 'The Snowman'". Variety. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  29. ^ Dargis, Manohla. "Review: 'The Snowman' Is a Thrill-Free Thriller Tied in Knots". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]