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THE BROWNS BOARD

Snowman review


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Snowman
Universal
R.                119 min


International travelers are probably aware of a series of detective novels in airport bookstores written by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.   
Americans are no strangers to anti-hero loner cops but Nesbo doubles down on this particular concept with his recurring Detective a hardcore drunk with a checkered past but apparently brilliant cop. Allow me to digress for a minute. Does anyone remember Wang computers? Didn’t you wonder why nobody told the president exactly what the word Wang mint in English? Well  this particular policeman’s name is, and I’m not kidding, Harry Hole.  I couldn’t help but think of Firesign Theater’s funny name club featuring dr. Happy Harry Cox or Monty Python’s Roman Biggus Dickus. 
Anyway that’s just about the only hint of humor to be found anywhere in this particular story. Maybe it’s The Long Winter nights maybe it’s the tales of Odin and the Norse gods as they face inevitable Defeat at the hands of the ice monsters at Ragnarok but Scandinavians have always had an affinity for the bleak. To be honest given my Viking and Celtic ancestry so do I, but in this case I thought a little violent action or a joke or two might have made this flick a little less dreary.
From the opening scenes we know who the Snowman is, at least a young version of him, and how he starts on the road to becoming a serial killer. In flashback a young boy and his single mother are brutalized on a regular basis by a cop. After one particular visit she will commit suicide in plain view of the kid. Something you’ll notice is that in a previous scene after being knocked to the floor the young boy is picking up coffee beans. Later he will build a snowman using these coffee beans as facial features. Get it? Because later on when these apparently random murders begin there will be a snowman outside the scene of the crime adorned with guess what?
For reasons you will find out later as the story unfolds the killer has decided that detective Hole should be the focus of his dastardly cat and mouse game. Women around Oslo and the surrounding area are being drugged kidnapped and dismembered and the Killer is sending messages to Harry.
Remember when I said this guy takes the anti-hero bit one step further? While watts of hard-boiled detective drink this guy is no stranger to spending the occasional evening passed out in a bus station or gutter. He’s sabotaged every relationship he’s been in and as a constant danger of being unemployed but for the forgiving nature of the Oslo Police Department.
At some point we will find who this damaged little boy has grown into and why his obsession with the drunken Detective has come to be. Until then there are some red herrings and other plot twists which unfortunately never really create a lot of interest. The Snowman k a pretty good cast with Michael Fassbender as Harry and Val Kilmer and J K Simmons.
It’s dark and slow with very little action and no humor maybe that’s a Scandinavian thing. Maybe I need to familiarize myself with one or two of the novels but the film itself doesn’t really generate a lot of interest despite a somewhat intriguing backdrop.
C
WSS
 

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