Smilla’s Sense of Snow - * * 1/2*

Implausible, but entrancing tale with rich characters, but a weak plotline. Julia Ormond portrays Smilla, a half-Inuit woman living in Denmark. One night she returns home to find that the young boy who lived downstairs is dead, having apparently fallen from the roof. But the stubborn Smilla isn’t content to let matters rest, and, funded by her rich but guilty father, she begins an investigation to determine why he died. Smilla’s character is much more interesting than the mystery however. She is blunt and rough in her dealings with most others, carrying some sort of chip on her shoulder. The film’s best moments are character moments, when we catch a glimpse of what makes her and others around her (particularly the mysterious mechanic played by Gabriel Byrne) tick. However the plot must move forward, and although mysteries are revealed, the film never quite explains everything thoroughly enough. It is as if the filmmakers realized they were entering the realm of the preposterous and were ashamed to devote any additional film time to it. The supporting cast is high caliber (including Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Robert Loggia), and their interactions almost make the plot bearable.

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