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The Snowman | 2017 | R | - 6.8.5

When a Norwegian detective (Michael Fassbender) investigates the disappearances of several women, he suspects a serial killer who strikes during fresh snowfall and always builds a snowman near the victim's body. A rookie detective (Rebecca Ferguson) helps connect the deaths to a cold case. Also with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jonas Karlsson and J. K. Simmons. Directed by Tomas Alfredson. [2:00]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - A man brings a woman wearing an evening gown into an empty auditorium (we see her cleavage); the man pulls the bodice of the dress down to bare the woman's chest, breasts and nipples as a second man takes a cellphone picture of her. A woman wearing a mini-dress removes her over-the-knee tights and sits on a bed alone. Two scenes show women in dresses that reveal cleavage and bare backs. A man alone in a darkened room and wearing snug briefs stands by a window and we see his bare chest and abdomen, and the outline of his buttocks. A few statues in a park show the backs and buttocks of nude genderless humans and babies. An advertisement shows the nude belly and thighs of a pregnant woman.
 A man pulls his shirt tail from his trousers as a middle-school boy enters the house and we hear sexual grunting and moaning off-screen; the boy sees the man with his legs bare to the middle thigh, lying on his side, panting and facing the boy's mother, who is on her back and under covers, as she threatens to tell the man's wife about their affair and the camera cuts to the man driving away angrily. A woman wearing a knit dress straddles the groin area of a man lying face up on a floor and she pulls her skirt up to the top of her bare thighs and rubs herself on his groin, and then bends over and kisses him for several seconds; he places his hands on her thighs and she gets up and walks away, ending the scene.
 While he laughs, a man outside a window at work holds a long sports water bottle to his groin and moves it as if he is masturbating and the water flow is ejaculation. A man takes a picture of a clothed woman and invites her to his hotel room, but he never sees her again.
 We hear that several women had abortions and a few of the women did not know who the father of their baby was. A man says that he has a daughter that he learned was not biologically his. A detective tells a coworker that missing women are probably out having affairs. A man asks another man if he or his wife had an affair and the man becomes angry.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A man enters a woman's house and stabs her with a short needle that puts her to sleep; he gets out a surgical drill and a wire cutting attachment and with the body in front of him and his back to the camera, he cuts off the head (it is thrown off-screen and thumps against something as the scene ends). In a flashback, a male voice shouts off-screen and we see the barrel of a gun enter the frame and shoot the head off a seated man, leaving the bloody jaw dripping; a hand jams a snowman's head onto the neck, which continues to flow with blood.
 A man in a car speeds and squeals his tires down a snowy road to an isolated house where we see a severed bloody finger pinned to the door and the man finds a woman and a young boy sitting at a table with their mouths taped shut as a man holding a cutting wire around the neck of the woman and attached to a surgical hand drill tightens the wire three times with a whining drill until it draws blood, but then releases the wire; the boy jumps up, the woman is knocked off her chair but unharmed, the first man attacks the would-be killer and they fight (one man cuts his finger on the cutting wire and shouts in pain as we see some blood), one man punches and chokes his opponent, who stabs him in the hand with a fork, one man runs as the woman shouts, "Kill him!" and the other man chases him in the snow, shouting, and ends up on a frozen lake; we hear a gunshot and one man falls with blood on his arm as the other man walks onto the frozen surface, takes a few steps and falls through a weak point (we see him struggling under water and he floats away, presumably dead).
 A clothed woman is attacked on a bed by a man who stabs her in the neck with a short needle to leave her unconscious; we later see her tied up on a couch and he stabs her with another small needle as her body jerks and he tightens a cutting wire around one of her fingers (we see the man holding a bloodied severed finger against a computer pad to use the fingerprint to access the computer).
 A woman breaks a small glass window to search a dark house (we hear and see glass break and fall): she walks outside and as a garage door rises, and we see the back of a clothed male body seated in a chair with the head missing and the shoulders covered in blood that has also pooled on the floor (we see a snowman built by the killer nearby). We see a few black and white pictures and a color photo of a clothed male body sitting in a chair after decapitation (the neck is torn ragged and bloody). A young girl awakens in the morning and the heat is off and her mother is missing; a detective finds the woman's headless body in an expanse of snow, clothed, but dismembered and missing the head and we see pools of blood after a flock of birds pecking at it fly away (the detective fires a shot in the air to alert his staff). Two scenes show a clothed headless body lying in snow, arms and legs cut into several pieces and a little blood on the cut ends and the neck. A detective finds a woman's headless body on the ground with chickens covering it and pecking at it; he enters a cistern and finds a snowman with the head of the woman staring out at nothing (the neck is bloody). A man looks out his window and sees a snowman drawn in snow on top of a woman's car roof; he rushes outside to open the car and finds her sitting dead in the driver's seat, one finger missing and blood on her hand. A chest freezer at a house contains human arms and legs cut into large pieces and wrapped in plastic wrap (the cut edges are slightly bloody). In two scenes we see the staring heads of two women in plastic bags placed into police lab coolers, the neck areas are slightly bloody. A wounded man holds his arm against his chest as he struggles through hip-deep snow back to a house. We see a man with a metal finger protector over a cut finger.
 A woman and her young son drive along a snowy road after a man's car until the woman takes her hands off the wheel, the car slides into snowy grass and onto an ice-covered lake and the boy exits the car and calls to his mother to get out, but the ice cracks and she stares at him with a slight smile and sinks with the car under the ice and water as the boy screams; the police later speak of the woman having disappeared.
 A man takes a handgun from a shelf at home and fires at a man wearing a hazmat suit, but misses; the second man says he is removing mold. A man finds a man dancing in his apartment and throws a chair at him; the man leaves.
 A man at a kitchen table with a middle school boy and his mother slaps the woman twice and she falls off her chair; outside the house, the man forcefully knocks the boy down in the snowy yard (neither victim shows injuries). A man kicks down an apartment door and a woman attacks him; he throws her on the floor hard and lies on top of her as she cries and he lets her up and hugs her. A woman walking alone at night is hit in the back with a snowball and as she drives her car from a lot, and another car follows; the other car sits outside her home that night as she and her husband argue and he leaves angrily. A woman argues with a man by phone, and then goes back to chopping a chicken on a stump in a barn as we see blood drip down the wood and a bloody mass thrown to the floor. A man tells another man that a third man was probably drunk and shot himself some time ago. At a concert a male singer screams for several seconds as he twirls in a circle.
 A ledge full of pigeons is covered with black and white pigeon droppings.


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 6 F-words and its derivatives, 1 scatological term, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (idiot, drunk, nitwit), 2 religious exclamations (Jesus, Jesus Christ).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man has a small bottle of Diazepam on his washroom shelf (we do not see him swallow any pills). We see a close-up of a man's hand holding an empty vodka bottle as he drops it below the frame and we hear tinkling glass at it breaks, a woman pours a man a glass of vodka and he does not drink it but stubs out a cigarette in it, we hear that three men are alcoholics and a man says that he is an addict (to alcohol), we see men and women holding glasses of wine in a club, we see an unconscious man lying on the sidewalk against a building (perhaps drunk), we hear that a teen boy may be drinking (we do not see him drink), a man admits that he does not have a driver's license because of drinking, two formal receptions feature men and women holding glasses of wine and champagne, and dozens of men and women raise their glasses in a toast and a few take sips. A man smokes a cigarette in dozens of scenes in apartments as well as a police station library room and an office and a café and a car and outside in several scenes, a man smokes on a metal grate landing, a woman smokes a cigarette while lying on a bed, and we see the close-up of a hand holding a lighted cigarette.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Mental illness, alcoholism, abuse, murder, revenge, extramarital affairs, abortion, crime solving, justice, having a purpose determination, responsibility, consistency, relationships, love, family.

MESSAGE - An unstable childhood, domestic violence, and alcohol abuse can contribute to mental illness and murder.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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