Or, How Not To Adapt A Best-Selling Thriller. There's a lot of talent to waste in this movie, from director Tomas Alfreson (the superb Let the Right One In) to Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, and Charlotte Gainsbourg in the cast. They also waste a perfectly good Norwegian thriller in the Jo Nesbo novel.
One problem is that everyone is miscast. Everyone. Val Kilmer was so miscast that his perceived problems speaking after treatment for tongue cancer caused the producers to dub his lines in what seems like an homage to some SCTV parody of bad dubbing. So that's distracting, as is Val Kilmer's obvious poor health. Rebecca Ferguson does her best with an underwritten sidekick to Michael Fassbender's colossally miscast Harry Hole.
One can note the attention to detail of the movie in its use of the detective's name, 'Harry Hole.' In Norwegian, 'Hole' is pronounced 'Hou-lay.' But a lot of Norwegians speak English and read English, so the hilarious English pronunciation of Harry's last name is a recurring irritant to the detective. In the movie, though... in the movie they just use the English pronunciation. It's distractingly hilarious every goddam time!
At points the movie keeps too much of the plot apparatus of Nesbo's densely packed novel. At others, the changes made range from dubious to completely infuriating (the murder of a character who doesn't die in the novel is the most infuriating of these moments). Pretty much all the detective work of the novel has been expunged. Also, the snowmen the killer leaves as clues aren't that scary. Neither is the killer when he appears. Who is the killer? All I'll say is that the nationality of the person playing the character seems like some sort of accidental clue.
The producers have also added this whole sub-plot with the Oslo police getting new laptops because... um... is this an advertisement for computers? What a mess. Not recommended because it's not funny enough often enough to be Fun-Bad. Though the suspension of disbelief required to accept that Michael Fassbender is a weathered, exhausted, alcoholic cop on the brink of suicide really is quite gigantic! But hey, at least they filmed in and around Oslo, albeit with an almost-all-non-Scandanavian cast for the major characters. Almost!