starring Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons
screenplay by Peter Straughan and Hossein Amini and Søren Sveistrup, based on the novel by Jo Nesbø
directed by Tomas Alfredson
by Walter Chaw Tomas Alfredson's The Snowman, an adaptation of the seventh in Jo Nesbø's literary crime series, treats its narrative as gestural performance art: a suggestion of a suggestion of genre. When it's fascinating, it operates with a certain dream logic, where one thing leads to another thing senselessly, nightmarishly, the dreamer buoyed along powerless to affect his own fate within the larger, obscure narrative. Harrison Ford famously complained that Blade Runner is a movie about a detective who doesn't do any detecting. The Snowman is a movie about a detective who can't do any detecting because there isn't any connective tissue. No matter what the teasing notes left by its serial killer claim, there are no clues. It's very much like Andrew Fleming's own abortive attempt at a franchise, Nancy Drew, which is also alien in its behaviour, acting like a movie would act if it were made by a sea cucumber. Consider a scene in The Snowman that pushes the story to its conclusion: there's a revelation, a key piece of evidence or something, and a location, and the heroine, Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson), stands up at her desk. A male colleague, who was sitting in a cubicle across from Katrine, suddenly teleports to the balcony above her as she leaves. He asks if she's all right. The better question would be if there was so little footage shot that every bit of it was used, continuity be damned. The great Thelma Schoonmaker was brought in at the eleventh hour, presumably at the behest of executive producer Martin Scorsese (once slated to direct the film), in a presumed attempt to save the project. Schoonmaker, for everything she's great at, was never that great at continuity under the best of circumstances. Something Scorsese played around with in Shutter Island. Something that occasionally turns The Snowman into a Gertrude Stein piece.