Review / ‘The Snowman’ (MA) *** and a half

THE advance promotion for the third film based on a novel by Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø threatened to churn our stomachs with its grisly horror passages.

True, the murder technique favoured by its serial killer uses a nifty development of what, until 1975, was the Spanish method of legal execution. But there are no grounds for calling “The Snowman” a horror story. It’s an intelligent, complex thriller, performed by a strongly skilled cast in a Norwegian winter environment.

In 2015, Norway is bidding to hold Winter Games. Industrialist Arve (JK Simmons) is a major sponsor of the bid. He’s also a bit of a creep with nubile young women. He’s just one of a number of characters with person-of-interest status in the investigation to which Chief Inspector Aasen (Adrian Dunbar) assigns detective Harry (Michael Fassbender) to catch a killer who signs his work by building a snowman outside the crime scene.

Harry’s investigation moves between Oslo and Bergen, providing some challenging and beautiful locations. His assistant Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson) is so beautiful. And independent, which is a familiar dramatic ploy for intensifying tension.

What I like about this film is the subtlety of its many complexities. My stomach did not churn whenever director Tomas Alfredson filled the screen with neatly-severed body parts – a head, a finger, each delivering its particular dramatic punch. All’s grist to “The Snowman’s” mill. Solid entertainment, with no visible need to deliver a message.

At all cinemas

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