The Curator of Schlock #220 by Jeff Shuster

The Snowman

From Norway with Fassbender.

I did a snowy movie last week. I’ll do another one this week. It’s snowing, right? Isn’t it still a record winter? It’s not spring yet!

Oh. Passover begins today. Easter is this Sunday. Whatever.

It’s winter somewhere in the world. In fact, it’s in the high 30s in Oslo, Norway. That’s where tonight’s movie take place, Oslo, Norway. It’s 2017’s The Snowman from director Tomas Alfredson.

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I was a little shocked upon viewing The Snowman, coming to the stark realization that Norwegians are not that different from us. They drink coffee and use the Internet and wear suits. What happened to fighting epic battles on a beached whale or wrestling trolls in the moonlight? They’ve traded their long ships in for SUVs!

Still, that doesn’t mean that danger doesn’t still lurk on the slushy streets of Oslo. There’s a serial killer on the loose. And this one leaves snowmen as his calling card.

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You know, if I were a serial killer, I’d cover my victims bodies in cotton candy. Then the media could dub me the Candy Man. I’d leave them on display in shopping malls with a sign that reads, “Try some! It’s good.” Imagine pulling at Cotton Candy until a bloody hand or face emerges out of that sweet goodness. Naturally, I’d watch on from the crowd on onlookers, grinning sadistically as some poor grandmother screams, her memories of the Iowa State Fair ruined forever.

So, The Snowman. I hate to admit it, but I’m not good at solving mysteries. Oh, I watch a ton of mystery shows, but I usually get lost about five minutes in. This happen every time I watch Elementary. Holmes and Watson interview the first suspect, determine he isn’t the killer, only to revisit that same suspect at the end of the episode and determine he is the killer. Gets me every time.

Val Kilmer is in The Snowman. I almost didn’t recognize him. I don’t know if they lost his voice because the Kentucky accent his character is sporting sounds nothing like him. It doesn’t even match his lips. This is very disconcerting.

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I think he played a private investigator that went hunting for the Snowman only to get his head blown off and replaced with a snowman’s head. I also think Val Kilmer argues with Toby Jones at some point while getting sloshed in the freezing cold.

Speaking of getting sloshed, Michael Fassbender plays Detective Harry Hole, a brilliant police inspector with a bit of a drinking problem.

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In fact, the movie starts out with him waking up with a killer hangover in a children’s playground in the dead of winter … or it could be summer. This is Norway. While he isn’t out chasing serial killers, Harry Hole resides in a mold-infested apartment, listening to vinyl records while drinking Jack or Jim or both. Huh. He’s got Never Mind the Bollocks on vinyl!

Rebecca Ferguson plays someone important, Harry’s partner, perhaps.

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The whole thing is a bit of blur. The Snowman is filled with flashbacks that seem to take place in real time. Suspects and plot threads fade into the ether. There’s one scene where the murderer is in his apartment disguised at the exterminator, dancing to music, only to have Harry throw him out so he can get some sleep. This is never revisited. Harry never realizes the killer was in his apartment. I could explain more, but I think I should quit while I’m behind.

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Maybe the director should have done the same.


Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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