What Exactly Went Wrong With Michael Fassbender’s ‘The Snowman’?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Universal)

The Snowman is one of the most fantastic disasters of 2017.

On paper, the movie looked like a hit – a dark, brooding crime story starring Michael Fassbender, alongside a fantastic supporting cast of actors who are all at the top of their game.

Then, the film came out, and it’s been slammed hard by critics. A 10% score on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t unheard of, but it’s pretty rare. This is, apparently, approximately on-par with Suicide Squad as far as critics are concerned.

So what went wrong? Why did this movie end up as a trash fire?

As is often the case with truly terrible films, the answer comes from a troubled development period that saw shooting times forced into tight windows. A large chunk of the movie simply wasn’t filmed.

According to director Tomas Alfredson:

“Our shoot time in Norway was way too short. We didn’t get the whole story with us and when we started cutting we discovered that a lot was missing. It’s like when you’re making a big jigsaw puzzle and a few pieces are missing so you don’t see the whole picture.”

So apparently the movie’s big problem was that there simply wasn’t enough time to shoot the whole script. A tight production schedule meant that several key plot points remained unfilmed, and it was necessary to cobble together the filmed material into a semi-cohesive story in order to get the film made at all.

The Snowman
Source: Universal

What’s more, Alfredson suggests that the Snowman also didn’t get enough pre-production time, claiming that it came as a shock when he was told that he was expected to start filming long before he’d anticipated:

“It happened very abruptly – suddenly we got notice that we had the money and could start the shoot in London.”

So if there’s a moral to this story, it’s that you can’t rush art. No matter how much money is at stake, or how enthusiastic movie studios are to get the ball rolling on a film at the earliest convenience, these things rarely work out if there isn’t enough time to fully prepare for the filming schedule.

There’s also a second moral that could be taken from this whole ordeal: don’t watch The Snowman while it’s in theaters. If the director is already openly trying to make excuses for why a film is so utterly terrible, you probably don’t want to spend money to go and see it.

Wait six months for the film to show up on Netflix instead. Get a bunch of friends round, play a drinking game where you finish your glass whenever you see a snowman, and just get hammered.

Or, alternatively, watch the infinitely superior animated movie called The Snowman which features a cameo from David Bowie instead.

Yeah, all things considered, that’s probably a better idea.