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Snowman movie review: This suspense thriller lacks punch

Snowman movie review: The Neeru Bajwa-Rana Ranbir starrer aims to be an intricate action film that delves into the psyche of a criminal but is impeded by clunky writing and its enthusiasm to pack in too much.

SnowmanActor Neeru Bajwa in the film Snowman.
Written by Sukhpreet Kahlon

 

While Punjabi cinema has been largely known for its comedy dramas, action films and suspense thrillers in particular, have been steadily rising in prominence. Action films like Babbar directed by Amar Hundal, Dakuaan Da Munda 2 by Mandeep Benipal, the suspense thriller Criminal (2022) directed by Garinder Sidhu, are some films from this year that highlight this trend.

The latest one in the genre, Snowman directed by Aman Khatkar, presents a curious concept, and unfolds amidst the snow-laden landscape of Canada. The subtitle tells us that it is about ‘the dark side of Canada’ and it takes us right in the midst of the treacherous landscape where the drama unfolds. Produced by Khatkar and Gippy Grewal, the film is made under the banner Big Daddy Films, the second production house helmed by Gippy Grewal. The recent release Criminal (2022) starring Neeru Bajwa and Prince Kanwaljit Singh was its debut production.

Snowman is the story of a wanted serial killer, who has murdered four people in three years. We are informed that due to the ‘soft laws’ of Canada, it is not just the police that is waiting to catch Snowman but the families of the victims are also baying for his blood. He leaves a drawing of a snowman as a signature, hence the moniker. Although the police, led by Vikram (played by Punjabi singer Jazzy B), apprehends the suspect, whose real name is Challa (Rana Ranbir), the actual drama unfolds when the police is transporting the criminal and a series of unforeseen incidents take place along the way. They all eventually reach a retreat, run by Mehak Kaur Sandhu (Neeru Bajwa) and things come to a head.

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Watch the trailer of Snowman here –

Written by Ranbir, one can tell that the intention was to weave an intricate screenplay that tied various strands together in an imaginative way. However, the result is quite different. Instead of a polished thriller where various elements come together seamlessly, what we get is a clunky film that is baffling at times. A case in point. Challa is being transported by two police personnel. One gets shot and the other, Vikram, has to take a lift from Arshi (Arshi Khatkar), as his vehicle gets stuck. On the way, in the middle of a forest, in obviously sub-zero temperatures, they meet a couple hanging out in a tent, whose brother happens to be one of the people whom Snowman has killed! Just like that. He runs out in his shorts to kill Snowman. Did I mention sub-zero temperatures? Similarly confounding is the needless bloodbath at the end, whose only purpose seems to be that the filmmaker needed to clear a path for the sequel announced at the end. There is also the heavy-handed deployment of rock music to mark the arrival of various characters in slow motion, which has pretty much become standard fare in Punjabi action movies.

What stands out in the film, however, are two things. One is the beautiful cinematography by Jay Vincent, which captures the wintery beauty of the snowscape and weaves it in, making it a character in the film. The terrain is foreboding yet magnificent, making it the ideal locale for the unfolding of dark deeds. The second element that stands out, even though it is not realised to its full potential; is the characterisation of Challa. Through this menacing, disturbing character, the film delves into the very real yet everyday horror of domestic abuse and its victims. Challa’s mindscape, his deeply unstable psyche and its genesis is such a crucial theme, pointing out the beasts that thrive, largely unchecked, in society.

Ranbir tries to capture the vulnerability of Challa, straddling it with that of a chilling cold-hearted criminal but the effort shows and he feels mis-cast in the role as the writer-actor seems out of his depth trying to capture the nuances and shifts in his character. As a widow out to get revenge, Bajwa is passable and plays her character with firm stoicism. Khatkar, who makes his debut with the film, has a big moment to shine but his performance does not quite match up to what his character demands either.

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In terms of the music, the rustic earthiness of Jazzy B’s voice, strong as ever, commands the duet ‘Jatt Bolde’ sung along with Gippy Grewal, which is also the film’s most memorable number.

One hopes that the promised sequel to the film picks up the pieces and packs a punch.

Snowman movie cast: Neeru Bajwa, Arshi Khatkar, Jazzy B, Rana Ranbir
Snowman movie director: Aman Khatkar

First published on: 04-12-2022 at 11:55 IST
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