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First Snow movie poster

First Snow Movie Review

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Guy Pearce stars in Mark Fergus's directorial debut First Snow, a somber, psychological thriller that caters to the actors' talent but never quite fulfills on its promise of suspense.

First Snow focuses on Jimmy (Pearce), a traveling jukebox salesman who finds himself with car troubles in a small town. To pass the time, he visits a fortune teller (J.K. Simmons) who gives him two tellings: that a great windfall will come from Dallas, and that he doesn't have long to live. Not long after, when a great sum of money does arrive from Dallas, Jimmy begins to believe that the man may not have been the scam artist he believed him to be... Is Jimmy about to die?

The movie is about Jimmy attempting to learn the truth about his death, though his investigation gets him into more trouble than had he just left things alone. A story about stumbling into your own destiny and also about the psychological toll certain information can inflict on an ordinary man, First Snow spends most of its time in dreary daylight and definitely doesn't give you happy feelings.

The first half of the movie is great, as Fergus and co-writer Hawk Ostby set the stage for events to follow. The slow decay of Jimmy's confidence is intriguing to watch, especially with Pearce in the lead. I've always liked Pearce, and with exception to a few more mainstream films, he tends to choose these character study pictures that seem written for his acting style and even physical appearance rather than box office potential. Pearce's Jimmy is cocky and a quintessential salesperson, but as the story progresses, Pearce lets his character crumble. There's something about this actor that just works so well; when he smiles in this film, you can tell the smile is shallow and hiding the horror and uncertainty the character is feeling.

Aside from Pearce, though, First Snow never really takes off. The concept is great, but once the story is established, nothing interesting happens. The second half of the movie is just sort of boring. The ending is weak. Fergus could have taken the film in two directions: either take it the psychological route and turn Jimmy into a paranoid lunatic, or take a more exciting, plot-based approach. Instead, Fergus takes the middle ground, and the result is a blah, watered down mixture of the two.

Fans of Guy Pearce will like First Snow and it's a respectable first entry for Fergus, but the picture never really decides what type of film it wants to be.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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