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Jo Nesbø and his agent Niclas Salomonsson have removed themselves as Executive Producers of The Snowman following suggestions the author is trying to distance himself from the film, VG.no reports. 

The two have been producers of the production since they sold the film rights in 2010 to Working Title. They were on the list as recently as last week, but as of this week have removed themselves from the IMDb site. Interestingly, the two are not listed as producers in the film credits either.

The Snowman is an English-language version of the Norwegian novel, and stars Michael Fassbender (in my opinion poorly cast) as Harry Hole. The story follows the investigation into the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around a snowman, and Hole must hunt down the serial killer who uses snowmen as his symbol.

So far, the film has been disliked by critics and some fans are unhappy with the fact that they didn’t make it a foreign-language film, but rather took the ‘basics’ of what many assume to make Nordic Noir successful. Basically, they made a poor cliche of the genre rather than being innovative. Norwegian reviews have been particularly negative, with VG.no’s critic asking “What the hell happened here?” and giving the film 2/6. Adresseavisen and NRK also gave the film 2/6.

Before the release of the film, there was already murmurs of the film being bad, and Jo Nesbø said in an interview with VG that The Snowman on film was not his story (you can read the article in Norwegian).

Director Tomas Alfredson spoke to NRK about the films poor reception, blaming the shoot time in Norway: “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.”

This is particularly interesting since the film has been a poster child for the new incentive scheme handed out by the Norwegian government through the Norwegian Film Institute. Basically, a foreign film production can shoot in Norway and get up to 25% of their production costs back if they make use of local Norwegian companies and locations. The Snowman was the first film to get the incentive and has been considered to be a shining example. If there were problems with shooting in Norway, then it may reflect poorly on the scheme.

The Snowman currently has 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, and here are some highlights from the critics:

  • “The Snowman” is ugly and nasty, but that’s not the worst of it. The worst is that it’s boring and makes no sense. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • “The Snowman” is like if aliens studied humanity and tried to make their own movie in an attempt to communicate with us. (Arizona Republic)
  • Dreary as a Nordic winter, and almost as long. (Newsday)
  • This is a muddled adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s best-selling thriller. I’m hard pressed to remember another police procedural that was so dull, or so encumbered in trying to tell its story. (leonardmaltin.com)
  • The Snowman ruined both snow and Michael Fassbender for me. (Original Cin)
  • The biggest mystery within Tomas Alfredson’s The Snowman concerns its own creation. (The Film Stage)

Sadly I have not seen the film yet (took a holiday and missed the screening!) but I plan to see it within the next two weeks, and will offer my thoughts on Cinema Scandinavia.

Have you seen the film? Tell us what you think about it!