4 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95 minutes
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In director Tomasz Thomson’s “Snowman’s Land,” hitman Walter (Jürgen Rißmann) leads a simple life. He drinks his morning coffee, eats his toast and then drives his rickety car to his job as a hitman. Unfortunately for Walter, he botches his latest job, leaving his employers with no choice but to send him on vacation. With dreams of a Caribbean vacation in the sun hindered by lack of funds, Walter is offered a job by a friend who can’t take it, to go work for “Slurry” Berger (Reiner Schöne) who has holed up in the Carpathian Mountains. Once arrived at a desolate hotel, miles away from any sort of civilization in the snow buried mountains, Walter encounters another hitman Mickey (Thomas Wodianka) and Berger’s wife Sibylle (Eva-Katrin Hermann), a free-wheeling, drug popping, sexually promiscuous woman. After an ugly accident wherein Sibylle blows her own head off, Walter and Mickey attempt to cover it up and become part of a series of ugly situations and misadventures that rapidly spiral out of control in a story of everything that can go wrong, will.

Being a fan of this type of storytelling, “Snowman’s Land” is a fairly enjoyable entry into the canon. Not content to be a completely dark tale, Thomson accentuates his situations with well placed dark humor, such as Mickey sitting down to enjoy some coffee and freshly baked scones, begging Berger to open a jar of jam for him after both his hands and arms had been intentionally broken not more than hours before. Walking the line between comedy and thriller, we’re later presented with a storyline about mysterious unseen locals that are out to destroy the domicile they’re protecting. Unsure if it’s all Berger’s paranoid mind or actual evils out to get them, we’re never really given any real indication of their existence. The movie makes several of these slight, unexpected and clever twists, all punctuated by strong performances from it’s cast.

Combined with breathtaking shots of the stark winter wasteland of the mountains, highlighting the absolute isolation the pair are in, the maniacally played character of Berger, the sympathetic Walter and graceless Mickey, “Snowman’s Land” presents a darkly comedic tale of well meaning characters thrown into uncomfortable and dangerous situations. If one is looking for a crime drama, this is not it. For those who are fans of the darker edges of comedy and don’t mind a little violence, this is a worthy watch.

Posted on September 25, 2011 in Reviews by

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