A single mother (Sofia Helin)driving down a snowy road with her son (Leonard Samuelsson Heinemann) veers off the road and on to a frozen lake not to soon after the boy watches his mother drown. Many years later in the town of Oslo, known for no murder rates, are in bid against other locations for the upcoming Winter Games. Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is working on a serial killer case with Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) and the police want it kept silent and labeled as missing persons until the bid for the games has past. Harry was dating Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who has a son, Oleg (Michael Yates) but due to circumstances the relationship ended yet they still remain in close contact even after she started dating Mathias (Jonas Karlsson).
All of the women killed seem to be in unhappy marriages and all having children involved. After each woman is brutally murdered while it is snowing out her body is left in pieces and a snowman is watching over them. It seems as Harry and Katrine try to solve the mystery of the murders they discover several possible suspects some leaving clues, some ending up dead and some that are very close to the both of their lives.
The film tends to have several holes in the writing and the direction seems to jump all over the place making things a little bit odd. I wanted to say confusing but not so much since I was able to follow the scenes by adding in my own analogies. Either way the story is too long with so much emphasis on Harry and Katrine that it did not make me care as much about the murders. The women dying seemed to have little or no character development what so ever. Unless I missed something written or spoken sometimes you did not even know when or where the film was going in the moments of flashbacks. I will say the cinematography was absolutely breath-taking making the back drop one of the best parts of this film. As for the plot it is given away of course in the beginning of the story but years later keeping you guessing on who the killer is. As for the ending it seemed to just come together too quickly and a bit too simple. There was much hope in the first half of the film but then it started to sink like a car on a frozen lake over broken ice but hey as it begins it tends to end as well. At least the puppy was safe but I can’t say as much for the chickens in the film.
As for the actors, Fassbender is usually outstanding and he seems to hold this film together or at least tries his best to keep it going. He really is the best thing about the film although at times he looked as if to say, where is this scene going next. Well if he didn’t know of course the audience did not either. Ferguson also does a good job as his partner and if not for her and Fassbender the film would have really melted and that would have been a shame since the countryside was beautiful. All the other players have bit parts, I guess to keep you guessing who the killer is. As for J.K. Simmons and Chloe Sevigny their roles were such a waste if only they had more screen time the film may have been better. As for Kilmer he too had little screen time but when he did for some reason his voice seemed not to fit his lips, it was very odd! Overall this movie is not horrible and truly had potential but it left me a bit uninterested many times during the two hours too long. They do leave it open for a sequel but if the box office dies due to word of mouth a recurring role for Hole will end up like the killings, dead and left in pieces for some unknown reason.