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.
“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.
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.