I try so hard to not go into a film with a biased attitude, but Despite the Falling Snow made it very difficult for me. Alright, there’s a great cast, I’ve been waiting for Rebecca Ferguson to turn up in something since her role in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Charles Dance and Anthony Head both appeal to the genre loving fanboy inside me, but the plot seems about on the level of Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey in terms of the way it represents women. I’m not a huge social justice warrior, but reading this synopsis did give me a few negative preconceptions about this film.
During the Cold War in Russia, Katya (Rebecca Ferguson), a female spy, is tasked with stealing secrets from a politician. What she didn’t expect is that she would really fall in love with him, and have to choose between what she believes in, and the man she loves. Thirty years later, the now former politician and his niece are trying to find out exactly what happened to Katya when he left the country.
As well as having the kind of plot that makes me raise an eyebrow, there were a few other questions I had, or rather answers I got, when watching this film’s opening credits. The movie is both written and directed by Shamim Sarif, but the most interesting thing is that she also wrote the book this film is based on. This raises an immediate ‘vanity project’ red flag, and while I think it’s great for her that she managed to be in charge of both the book and the film, she may be the only person that got what she wanted in this situation.
The problem with this film is that everything is just fine. The acting is fine. The direction is fine. The sets, costumes, everything is just fine, but the story is not. Despite the fact that it has a non linear plot told in two time periods, the whole thing manages to come off as being boring. The big dramatic moments that are meant to be the outcome of decades of build up have no tension, and none of the characters have arcs that go anywhere other than exactly where you expect they’ll go.
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