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First Snow – Movie Review

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_ First Snow_
Title: First Snow
The Human Mind: Is it the devil’s playground for paranoid pranks? Or could it be that once our embedded logic is removed, we have a greater understanding of our reason on the earth, knowledge of our fate, and the capability to remedy our brokenness before our final breath?

Starting out slow, and purposefully continuing at a snail’s pace throughout the entire film, we are introduced to Jimmy (Guy Pearce) who likens a stereotypical used car salesman. Greasy hair. Chain smoker. Heavy drinker. However, Jimmy’s in the business of selling carpet. Or jukeboxes. Or anything else that tickles his fancy and could possibly increase his earning potential.

Out on a sales trip, Jimmy becomes stranded in the middle of nowhere…somewhere in between New Mexico and Arizona his car breaks down. After finding a mechanic and learning the day would be spent fixing his Impala, he ventures out on foot to discover some of the local flavor: an old diner, some peddlers, and a mysterious fortune-teller.

After the salesman in Jimmy negotiates a price with the old man, the fortune teller reveals to him some interesting facts about the future…some unlikely sports information, and even gives him Jimmy a glimmer of hope when he tells of a forthcoming windfall from a business venture in Dallas. However, at the end of the reading, the old man has a seizure, caused by what he sees at the end of Jimmy’s future: He will die after the first snow.

Jimmy, dismissing the forecast, continues on his way when his car is fixed. However, certain predictions the old man made begin coming true, and Jimmy finds himself driving back to the fortune teller, needing to know more details about his death.

The fortune teller can reveal no more, and Jimmy is left in a state of paranoia trying to figure out the circumstances of his death. Because of his shady past filled with sour deals, he wonders if any of his betrayed business associates will be the cause of his demise. He begins tracking them down, following them, needing to know their every move, and in return, also begins being followed by them, causing him to become even more paranoid.

After a mental breakdown consisting of locking himself in a cheap motel room for an unknown amount of days, Jimmy walks outside into a freshly snow-covered parking lot. The calmness and purity of the clean snow guides us into a calmer disposition with Jimmy. This is his fate. He must accept it.

Because of not knowing precisely how long he’s left to live, Jimmy begins rectifying his past as much as possible. Yet for all he knows, his attempts to make peace could bring along the very fate he has tried to avoid. But he knows the road he is on is his, and he must continue down it, regardless of the outcome.

I’ve never felt the need for a sedative during such a slow movie until I was watching First Snow. The topic of death and fate and paranoia all blended together and actually made me a little anxious, wishing my bag of M&M’s was a bag of Xanax. The movie deliberately creeps along, causing a nervous atmosphere.

Pearce is well known for his role in Memento, and again hits one out of the park combining a believable character that is captured in the past, present and future. Although initially First Snow didn’t overly impress me, it lingered on my thoughts for several days and I slowly began to appreciate its charm. Based on the pacing of the movie, this doesn’t surprise me. I give it a solid 3.5 out of 5.
Anne Jackson for Mungles on Movies

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