Movie Review: “The (Melting) Snowman”

“This movie is a haunting icicle, but one without enough information to really stir us, so it’s really a melting icicle.”


Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.

Y’all. Norway’s freakin’ cool. Their architecture blends ancient gothic cathedrals with buildings that just had sex with a spaceship. This was way cooler than Ikea. Not to mention Norway makes snow look sexy. I mean, I’m from Texas, but I’ve seen snow before. This movie had SNOW. Obviously, since it’s called “The Snowman,” winter weather is a theme. It’s arguably the best part about it.

“The Snowman,” like every murder mystery movie, has to broadcast information without telling too much. You go into one of these hunting for clues, trained to deduce on your own who the killer is. It’s all connected! One clue leads to another! We, too, can be detectives. Except, the first half of this movie delivers on information that doesn’t really coalesce, or tease any kind of convergence. Thankfully we’re treated to comprehensive soul-gazing from Michael Fassbender (the mercurial detective.)

The photography frames every moment in delicious symmetry. Equal parts cold snowscapes, sleek modern towns, and backwoods ice huts “The Snowman” delivers on the aforementioned snow. Fassbender carries us through this investigation as Chloë Sevigny (an underrated actor in my opinion) loses her head. By the time everything heats up (I’m so clever) we’re a step ahead of the movie. Norway’s cool, but not cool enough for me to ignore the strange British accents JK Simmons, Sevigny, and Rebecca Ferguson all share.

Ultimately, the film suffers from being a derivative of a book. We don’t have enough information until the final third of the movie (a lot of it conveyed through flashbacks to old Val Kilmer) to really invest in its twists and turns. That doesn’t prevent the movie from being entertaining, sure, but an average intelligence moviegoer will figure it out pretty quickly. I’m sure the book’s plot twists proved more conventional and inspiring. I did not invest so thoroughly in every ninety-degree pivot I saw.

In the end, I’d recommend this movie for theaters. An ominous score accompanies the beautiful visuals of snow-covered Norway. Michael Fassbender is easily watchable in anything. Maybe don’t get too excited to be fooled, but who knows? I’ve been fooled by less. This movie is a haunting icicle, but one without enough information to really stir us, so it’s really a melting icicle. Here’s to you melted icicle! I hope I get to visit Oslo sometime soon…

In theaters Friday, October 20th


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