Friday, June 18, 2010

EIFF Premiere: "Snowman's Land" (2010)

Bookended by a pitch-perfect start and finish, German writer/director Tomasz Thomson's "Snowman's Land" is a lesser "Fargo" as his influence for this black comedy about a bumbling and lazy assassin most notably comes from the work of the Coen brothers.

Set in the stark white of a snowy mountainous scenery, the film tells the story of Walter and Micky, two out-of-work assassins who are given an assignment from a man named Berger who lives in a massive mansion atop the snowy mountains. The first portion of the film acts like an oddball buddy movie as the two men wander aimlessly exploring Berger's home and causing an unexpected accident with Berger's lover.

The results are darkly funny as intended with a sharp sense of style and moments that jump out as such with a screen that flashes red to indicate Walter's adrenaline or another in which red arrows point to where mines have been placed in the snow. These instances are all given voiceover by witty narration. The soundtrack, too, fits well into the absurd screwball world the two assassin losers tumble into.

Consider a moment when Berger attempts to inflict torture on Walter, but just as the blade of an electric knife is about to pierce through Walter's hand the batteries go dead. It's moments like these when the movie shines in its Coen brother-esque humor.

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