“The Snowman” (Universal)

Michael Fassbender stars in a scene from the movie "The Snowman." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Universal)

By Catholic News Service

Director Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s best-selling crime novel occasionally dabbles in penny-dreadful sensationalism, then returns to plodding wearily across the frozen landscape of its unconvincing mystery story.

Set primarily in Oslo, Norway, the film tracks the efforts of a gifted but alcoholism-plagued police detective (Michael Fassbender) to catch a serial killer who builds a snowman at each murder site. The officer’s search is complicated by the fact that his new partner (Rebecca Ferguson) seems to have a hidden agenda of her own and by his tangled relationships with his ex-girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg), her son (Michael Yates) and her new live-in love interest (Jonas Karlsson). Needlessly shocking visuals punctuate the stilted proceedings while the killer’s motivation springs from the sordid personal lives of his victims as well as his traumatic childhood.

Excessive gory violence and gruesome images, a suicide, strong sexual content, including aberrant behavior, an adulterous bedroom scene and brief upper female nudity, abortion, domestic abuse and cohabitation themes, a few uses of profanity and rough language, several crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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