Deadpan take on befuddled urban hitmen assigned to a far-flung winter wonderland.

A Teutonic mix of Tarantino and Jarmusch, “Snowman’s Land” provides considerable diversion with its deadpan take on befuddled urban hitmen assigned to a far-flung winter wonderland. Impressively handled sophomore feature by writer-helmer Thomasz Thompson isn’t quite a slam dunk, but should beguile fans of twisty, offbeat genre fare. Launching theatrically in Germany at month’s end, it stands a fair chance of attracting offshore distribs.

A major malfunction on his last job gets grizzled, grumpy Walter (Jurgen Rissmann) temporarily exiled to a colleague’s castoff gig high in the mountains. There he’s joined by manic younger hitman Mickey (Thomas Wodianka, a hoot) and given sullen welcome by Sybille (Eva-Katrin Hermann), sexy mate of their employer Berger (Reiner Schone). Before Berger turns up, however, a wee accident occurs that the two visitors desperately hide from their suspicious host. Armed local yokels and abrupt power-dynamic reversals (also involving Walera Kanischtscheff as Berger’s Russian strongarm) gradually winnow the already slim character roster. Last reel could pack more punch, as several figures simply exit forestward to offscreen fates. But droll humor and razor-sharp packaging (highlighted by Ralf M. Mendle’s widescreen lensing) keep pic enjoyable throughout.

Snowman's Land

Germany

Production

A Noirfilm production in association with ZWR, Debut and Arte. (International sales: Noirfilm, Karslube, Germany.) Produced by Boris Michalski. Executive producers, Darko Lovrinic, Michalski. Directed, written, edited by Thomasz Thompson.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Ralf M. Mendle; music, Luke Lalonde; production designer, Thorsten Sabel; costume designer, Monika Gebauer. (Also in Edinburgh, Athens festivals.) Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Aug. 27, 2010. (Also in Edinburgh Film Festival.) Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Jurgen Rissmann, Thomas Wodianka, Reiner Schone, Eva-Katrin Hermann, Walera Kanischtscheff, Luc Feit, Detlef Bothe.
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