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The Snowman Director Says A Rushed Production Ruined The Movie

The critics have spoken, and The Snowman is melting.

The Michael Fassbender-starring thriller movie, based on a novel by Jo Nesbø, is not even out in theaters yet in the US, but the critical response that's come out since the movie's UK premiere on October 13 has been chilly at best. The overriding theme of the reviews have painted a picture of a below-average movie that feels compromised and incomplete.

Now, in an effort to distance himself and his cast and crew from the harsh reception to the movie, director Tomas Alfredson has come out to say that production on The Snowman was extremely rushed, compromising the quality of the movie. The director estimates that, due to time constraints, he was unable to shoot a solid 10% to 15% of the script.

"Our shoot time in Norway was way too short," the director told NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, in an interview translated by The Independent. "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," Alfredson added.

The shoot was rushed from the beginning, according to the director, who claims that production was kickstarted before enough time had been taken to properly prepare for it.

"It happened very abruptly," Alfredson said. "Suddenly we got notice that we had the money and could start the shoot in London."

Based on the seventh book in an ongoing series of detective novels, The Snowman was positioned to launch a new franchise of mystery films, but the harsh critical reaction to the adaptation makes prospects for future installments with the same creative team look dim. At the time of this writing, the movie is clocking in at a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 42 reviews being counted toward that thoroughly thumbs-down score.

The critic Guy Lodge, writing for Variety, described The Snowman as a movie of "snowballing incoherence" which has been pruned beyond comprehension, with a weak structure and an underwritten protagonist—criticisms which seem to gel with Alfredson's claim that the movie as shot is essentially incomplete.

The Snowman is the sixth movie from award-winning Swedish director Alfredson, who rose to international prominence with the 2008 vampire romance Let the Right One In. He followed that film up with his first English-language feature, the 2011 espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 

Both of those films were well-received critically for their nuanced and engaging stories, but with The Snowman, unfortunately, Alfredson's track record is taking a bit of a hit. If he really had that little control over the outcome, it's a sad state of affairs indeed.

The Snowman stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, JK Simmons, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, with a screenplay by Peter Straughan, Hossein Amini, and Søren Sveistrup. It will be released in theaters in the US on October 20.