Clumsy adap­ta­tion of grip­ping novel will leave you cold

Belfast Telegraph - - LIFE -

The Snowman (Cert 15, 119 mins)

There’s lit­tle chance of con­fus­ing Swedish di­rec­tor To­mas Al­fred­son’s The Snowman with the charm­ing an­i­mated film that has been a Christ­mas TV sta­ple for more than 30 years.

One is a per­fect dis­til­la­tion of child­hood won­der from the pages of Ray­mond Briggs’ book, the other is a ham-fisted de­tec­tive yarn with ice rather than blood in its veins, adapted from a grip­ping novel by Jo Nesbo.

Based on the best-sell­ing se­ries fea­tur­ing Nor­we­gian de­tec­tive Harry Hole, this clum­sily con­structed Snowman can­not muster a sin­gle flurry of ten­sion over the course of two glacial hours that feel closer to three.

A mild case of frost­bite might be favourable to shiv­er­ing with bore­dom through Al­fred­son’s anaemic hunt for a di­a­bol­i­cal se­rial killer. Dra­matic mo­men­tum is frozen solid from the chilly open­ing frames, and Michael Fass­ben­der’s life­less lead per­for­mance as a griz­zled de­tec­tive bat­tling al­co­holism fails to thaw our sym­pa­thy.

Harry (Fass­ben­der) is at the mercy of his ad­dic­tion — his toxic re­la­tion­ship with the bot­tle neg­a­tively im­pacts his abil­ity to func­tion at work and he craves a com­plex case to quell his demons.

Stum­bling into work in a bleary-eyed daze, Harry meets de­tec­tive Ka­trine Bratt (Re­becca Fer­gu­son), a re­cent trans­fer from Ber­gen. They are called to the home of Birte Becker (Sofia Helin), who has van­ished shortly af­ter an ar­gu­ment with her hus­band (James D’Arcy).

A creepy snowman stands fac­ing the Becker house, and a trawl through po­lice ar­chives ex­humes a se­ries of un­solved cases in­volv­ing moth­ers who dis­ap­peared or were mur­dered at the same time of year. How­ever, the killer is one step ahead of Harry and Ka­trine. Un­think­ably, Al­fred­son’s built an abominable Snowman.

Frozen: Re­becca Ferguson and Michael Fass­ben­der

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