First Snow 2006 Movie Scene Guy Pearce as Jimmy Starks and Piper Perabo as Deirdre asking about fortune teller Vacaro at the local bar

First Snow [2006]

What would happen if someone told you that you were going to die? Would you carry on with your life as usual or would you ask yourself some deep, deep questions? In these situations, people start to realize just how fragile life is. And how time is one of the most precious commodities we take for granted. First Snow is an atmospheric, slow-burning, and yet oddly captivating thriller starring Guy Pearce. We will be following a car salesman who, after a fortuneteller tells him he’s going to die, starts overthinking his way out. All the while waiting for that swing of the axe.

Or, in this case, the swing of the sword as First Snow is actually an immersive examination of the concept of the Sword of Damocles. I think you already instinctively know all about that concept even if you’re not familiar with this ancient Greek myth. It’s that notion of an imminent disaster hanging over your head, ready to cut you in half at any moment and without warning. Moreover, First Snow also examines the concept of fate and the so-called self-fulfilling prophesy. I know that I’m throwing a lot of these “brainy” themes out there but this is all in the background.

If you don’t want to ponder on these subjects too much, you’re free to do so. There’s plenty of meat on the bones here to keep you interested. The storytelling is excellent, the characters well-developed and the atmosphere is appropriately ominous. Guy Pierce gave another stellar performance slowly but surely cementing himself as one of my favorite actors. And he has a knack for picking roles in these hidden gems like Ravenous and The Proposition. To make things even more interesting, the entire supporting cast consists of some of my favorites. I’m talking about Fichtner, Shea, Simmons, and my old crush Piper Perabo. 

Jimmy Starks is a slick salesman who’s trying to build up his own business but lacks the money. After his car breaks down in New Mexico, he visits the local fortune teller to pass the time. The Great Vacaro tells Jimmy the usual stuff about his future but then freezes in terror as he sees something ominous. Something that’s going to change Jimmy’s life completely. At first, he disregards this as mere ramblings of an old fool but then…

First Snow is one of those magical, highly atmospheric, almost noir movies. Good script, camera angles, and production values are just there to seal the deal. It reminded me of L.A. Confidential and Memento, perhaps because of Guy’s strong performance. It’s no wonder that Mark Fergus’ next movie was a simmering science fiction masterpiece Children of Men. Oh yeah, he also wrote the script for the little-known movie Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr.

The unraveling of Jimmy Starks and the constant tension in the air are interesting to think about. Especially if you start wondering about your own life and the choices you have made. One of those movies that makes you think and stays with you long after the credits have rolled. Ultimately I ended up thinking about control, how about you?

Director: Mark Fergus

Writers: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby

Cast: Guy Pearce, Piper Perabo, William Fichtner, Adriana Cordova, J.K. Simmons, 

Fun Facts: Mark Fergus’ directorial debut.


IMDb Link:

YouTube player