A Coen-light Finish thriller that fails to connect
If the Coen Brothers were Finnish, then they might've made a film similar to Vicious Winter and they probably would've made it a lot better.
This Finland set crime thriller/mystery with more than an odd sprinkling of downright bizarre situations and characters certainly has a lot going on in it and more than its fair share of potential but first time feature director Marcus Hägg struggles to maintain his narrative despite Winter's initially intriguing set-up of everyday people caught up in anything but everyday situations, again a favourite of the Coen Brothers.
It does feel as though Hägg has looked to the famed American directors as inspiration, the small town in which events take place here looks and feels like a European version of Fargo, and Winter's moment of violence, flash forwards and dream like scenarios all feel like something cooked up as a wannabe Coen Brothers tribute show but Winter's convoluted story that starts to get far too muddled around 30 minutes in, just doesn't justify any of these moments, they feel undeserved and cut from another film entirely.
We've got a quiet couple who want nothing more than to relax out in the snow covered lands of the Finish wilderness. Tappani, a mysterious man caught up in all types of nefarious possibilities. Evil land developers and their minions enacting out their master's wills to take over land to build a new hotel and a number of side characters that come and go and add not a whole lot to anything at all other than more mild confusion and added cloudiness to what on earth is going on and why it is going on in the first place.
Final Say –
There's ample opportunity for Vicious Winter to be a good film and there are undeniable elements of this low budget affair that are commendable, such as some committed performances, some great scenery and a few well-constructed moments of creepiness and malevolence but overall this done dirt cheap Coen Brother's like experience is a rather forgettable oddity that harbors only the possibility of becoming a more established remake that only exists because of this failed attempt at the story.
1 ½ reindeer's out of 5
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