Snowman's Land

99 minutes 2012

Is torture an acceptable subject for humor? Tomasz Thomson, who wrote and directed this German crime comedy (2010), seems to think so, treating the viewer to gags about chaining people to a wall, sawing off toes, and other such business. The movie begins engagingly enough as a lowbrow version of Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter: two put-upon hit men, waiting for a new assignment, kill time at an isolated lodge in the Carpathian Mountains, and Thomson generates humor and suspense through his imaginative use of negative space (both verbal and visual). But then the violence kicks in, and any charm evaporates amid the rampant amorality. In German with subtitles.

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