While I originally intended to review Blade Runner 2049 (which I have seen three times and hopefully more, I will review it, and for right now all I’m gonna say about it is that it’s AMAZING), I realized that might take more time as I think it’s a pretty intense and intricate film for me to talk about, more so than other things that I have reviewed so far. So in the meantime, how about a different mystery movie instead? And by different, I mean shitty, because MY GOD how the Hell did this movie get made the way it did? Seriously, this movie is so BORING, the Jack Frost movies are more interesting and scary, and yes I do mean both the Michael Keaton movie and the trashy horror movies.
Now I know that this movie is based on a novel of the same name and is part of a series of books, apparently this book is the seventh in the series or something, and to me that usually doesn’t make sense. Why is it that sometimes when a book series gets adapted, the first one that gets adapted is like the umpteenth entry in the series? I know that this isn’t always the case, with book series such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and even shitty book series like Twilight and 50 Shades have some kind of arc that is told in sequential order, but when others get adapted, like the Jack Ryan and Jack Reacher books, the ones that get adapted are random entries. Maybe they’re just interchangeable or something and it’d be more preferable to do a TV series instead, considering that’s being done for Jack Ryan and Harry Bosch, and maybe it should’ve been done for this series. That’s just my thoughts on it. And while I haven’t read the book, I know a bad movie when I see one, and I feel sorry for people who liked the book and were hoping for a good movie out of it and they won’t get it.
Regardless of what numbered entry in this series this is, that doesn’t mean a good movie can’t be made out of it. Unfortunately that didn’t happen here. Between this and Alien: Covenant, it feels like I’m getting bombarded with bad movies, or movies that had potential to be good but ended up being bad, that have Michael Fassbender in them, and that’s sad because I really like the actor and while he was the saving grace of the latter film, in this one he’s pretty much wasted, figuratively and probably literally, given his character is an alcoholic, and Fassbender would’ve had to have gotten through a shit ton of booze to finish this movie. But what else can be expected when he’s playing a character named, and I’m not kidding here, “Harry Hole” (which is fitting considering this movie is a “hairy hole” of shit)? Nothing against the author of these books, Jo Nesbo, while that name would work in books or heck, a 1940s or 50s styled noir story, just saying that name in a movie like this, when it’s meant to be taken seriously, it just sounds silly. Almost every time this character’s name gets mentioned in the film, I couldn’t help but laugh. I will give the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe in the right context and with the right direction, maybe the name “Harry Hole” could be taken seriously, as a nickname or even if it was his real name. And if you had to guess what kind of character he is, a drunk and disgruntled detective who’s reckless and on the edge, but is a good man and good at his job because he gets results, you’d be correct. It’s too bad he’s pretty much every cliched male cop character ever and this movie is bland and boring complete with terrible execution, despite having an interesting premise and story. He makes some pretty stupid decisions, like when he actually has the killer in his sights and can take him down easily, he just goes along with the killer’s game when he really shouldn’t have and could’ve saved him time and effort.
Originally this movie was going to be directed by Martin Scorsese, but I guess he got busy with other projects and remained as a producer, so Tomas Alfredson (known for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I haven’t seen but heard good things about it) took over. Thelma Schoonmaker, a longtime collaborator of Scorsese’s who’s edited many of his films and won several Oscars for editing, also edits this movie, though she does share credit with fellow Oscar-winning editor Claire Simpson, and it kinda baffles me that this movie was edited by them since its editing is shit, but I’ll get to that later. Dion Beebe (who won an Oscar for cinematography on the movie Memoirs of a Geisha), does the cinematography for this movie and it is excellent to look at in a visual sense. There’s even a good cast here with Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, Charlotte Gainsburg, and strangely Val Kilmer (who I’ll get to later), as well as others. So with all that said, what the heck happened with this movie if it’s shit? Well, apparently after the movie got such bad reviews when it was released, the director went ahead and revealed that at least 10-15% of this movie’s script wasn’t even filmed, and it shows. I almost have no idea what went on during this movie.
I almost thought with that having been said, it seemed like this would be another Fan4stic situation, though thankfully this movie isn’t complete and utter garbage like that movie. It’s just that this movie tries to tell a compelling story with an interesting mystery, it wants to be a cerebral thriller in the same vein as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (apparently it’s rumored this movie was inspired by the success of the American version of that film) and Gone Girl, but with key story elements and moments missing thanks to the bad editing and the movie itself already being so bland and boring that I almost fell asleep (no joke that did happen and my friend that I saw this with had to wake me up). There’s never any development for the main protagonist, you never get to have any idea what’s in his head, what makes him tick, why he smokes and drinks so much, why he sleeps on the street and park benches and in other random places, why his life is shit, what’s the deal with his family stuff, and other details. There’s never even much insight into the killer, like why he kills people aside from some childhood trauma or something, why he kills when it snows, and why he leaves snowmen outside the houses of the people he’s going to kill. Also what’s the deal with J.K. Simmons’s character in this? It tries to play him up as the killer but he’s really just a red herring. And when it’s revealed who the killer is, it doesn’t add up at all. A good example of a movie that does this type of story well would be something like Manhunter, the 1986 film adaptation of the novel Red Dragon, in which the movie spends considerable amounts of time showcasing both the investigator and the killer and their different perspectives, in their professional and personal lives, utilizing interesting visuals and music to help with this. This movie doesn’t do that at all, therefore the execution is about as flat as a wooden board.
This movie also tends to cut to moments that take place prior to the start of the actual story that show a character played by Val Kilmer who also investigated the same case as Fassbender’s character. But when it does this, it breaks up the pacing of the main story and doesn’t really do anything. It could’ve been used in an interesting way if transitioned properly, but it’s just awkward how it’s done and doesn’t really add anything to the overall plot aside from some contrivances. Also, what the fuck is up with Val Kilmer in this movie? And no, I’m not talking about how he physically appears in this (though I did hear he’s recovering from cancer so maybe that explains how he looks here? I don’t know), I mean the dubbing and ADR are just off. He’s got his teeth gritted and when he talks it doesn’t match up with his lip movement and I can’t tell if that’s even his real voice. Seriously, who thought this kind of shit was okay to be released in theaters?
It’s really a shame that a movie with all this talent involved and a good story to go with it, based on a renowned book no less, that it ends up being as lifeless as it could be. And yet this was made to be the start of a potential film series featuring this Harry Hole character (seriously what kind of name is that? guy must’ve had REALLY cruel parents and was teased a lot in school and other parts of his life), especially with a sequel-bait ending, which due to this movie not doing great, probably won’t happen at all (though I could see a TV show happening, but I’m not holding my breath). Maybe at some point there can be some kind of extended or more completed version released when it comes out on home video. Until then, this movie in its current state might as well be called “The No Man”, as in “no man” would ever sit through this kind of movie, a “hairy hole” of shit and melts faster than a snowman on a hot summer day.