Netflix didn’t become the king of the streaming services by chance. And with the company recently announcing that the DVD-by-mail service the company was founded on is coming to an end this fall, it just reinforces that Netflix’s enduring popularity as a streamer is actually due in part to its up-to-the-moment curation of original films and Hollywood movies that lets users keep track of what other viewers are watching.
This also gives some films a chance to become streaming hits regardless of how they performed at the box office. We already track the most popular movies on Netflix on a weekly basis, but it’s time to focus on the movie that everyone is watching on Netflix right now.
As of April 19, the most popular movie on Netflix is The Snowman, a relatively obscure 2017 thriller starring Michael Fassbender.
Fassbender stars as Harry Hole, a police investigator living in Norway who is the main character in a bestselling series of crime novels by Jo Nesbø. Widely regarded as one of the best actors of his generation, Fassbender brings his compelling screen presence to the film as he portrays Harry struggling to deal with his own mental health issues while simultaneously attempting to catch a serial killer in Oslo. And this killer earns his nickname, “The Snowman,” because he loves to leave snowmen behind at the site of his grisly crimes.
While the bulk of the focus is on Harry, there are two women in his life. The first is Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), his new partner in the investigation into the so-called Snowman, who sends an enigmatic message to Harry even before his first victims are discovered. The other woman in Harry’s orbit is his ex-girlfriend, Rakel Fauke (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Although their relationship has come to an end, Harry still harbors deep feelings for Rakel. Harry also loves Rakel’s son, Oleg, as if he was Harry’s own child.
With a stunningly low score of 6% on Rotten Tomatoes and a ranking of 23 on Metacritic, it’s safe to say that The Snowman did not resonate with critics, nor did it do very well at the worldwide box office with a take of only $43.1 million. Tomas Alfredson’s direction was singled out in several reviews that called the film “exasperating” and “an inept misfire — the kind of entrancing train wreck that makes you long for a behind-the-scenes tell-all to explain what, exactly, went so wrong.”
However, the critics really sold this one short. It is far from a perfect film, and parts of The Snowman can be hard to follow, but Fassbender really carries the movie, and he’s joined by a fantastic supporting cast that includes Val Kilmer as Gert Rafto, J. K. Simmons as Arve Støp, Toby Jones as Investigator Svenson, Adrian Dunbar as Frederick Aasen, David Dencik as Idar Vetlesen, Ronan Vibert as DCI Gunnar Hagen, Chloë Sevigny as Sylvia Ottersen, James D’Arcy as Filip Becker, and Genevieve O’Reilly as Birte Becker. Now, that’s a killer lineup!
The Snowman‘s newfound popularity on Netflix appears to indicate that fans have rediscovered this title, and they are enjoying what they see. It’s definitely not the greatest thriller to come out of Hollywood, but it’s still an enjoyable movie to watch, even if you want to make a drinking game out of it.
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