Cops and journalists not able to let go of a particular case is a stretched-out trope. The creative choice is made without too much thought, originality, or passion. It has become the norm to chase deeply personal character studies with procedural dramas where a mystery around a kidnapping or murder flows along.
Many do not pass the litmus test as triumphantly as Netflix’s The Snow Girl does. Both the mystery and the personal arch of Miren Rojo are so intertwined that one propels the other. Creators Jesus Mesas and Javier Andres Roig produce defining work that brings back strong genre vibes and an incredibly satisfying OTT experience.
Milena Smit plays Miren Rojo, a budding journalist who becomes embroiled in following the sensational disappearance of Amaya Martin. The six-year-old was picked up from the Cavalcade of Magi parade in Malaga in 2010. Seasoned cop Belen Millan is tasked to leave the investigation but Miren knows her from a previous case involving herself. Miren must cope with her own personal demons and along with Eduardo, her mother’s close friend, carry out her own investigation to ensure Amaya is not ignored as she was.
That is the fundamental thread that binds Amaya and Miren. It is the reason why every action that Miren makes comes off as so personal to her. Miren’s obsession with saving Amaya is fleshed out really well in the narrative. It is one of the many things that work well in The Snow Girl’s universe. There is at least a tangible, desperate, and palpable sense that is communicated to the viewers which justifies Miren’s relentlessness. In creating the journalist’s portrait, the creators ensure that she is never victimized.
Miren is seen as a source of strength and someone really struggling with the events of the rape. The projections on the character never undermine her position nor show her in a superficial vengeful light. Snow Girl’s characterizations are level-headed and grounded in the themes it tries to explore through the unyielding universe.
Every technical element of moviemaking – sound, picture, and story – are aligned with the overarching vision of the script. The lack of a mismatch between reality and conception adds charm to the experience of watching the series.
Despite its genre, The Snow Girl is not atmospheric to a fault, like most of its peers. That is perhaps down to the universality of the commentary and political statement that the writers make. It is almost as if the narrative is intentionally kept open and liberal enough to accommodate the viewer’s experiences and ideologies that get triggered while watching the series. Every episode is brought to life with a calculative touch. The events that add to the mystery are seamlessly navigated, as opposed to anything being perceived as forced.
Even with three timelines, the writers make sure that their storytelling is not disorganized. Very efficiently, each phase of the investigation and the characters’ lives with it has a succinct significance extracted from them. The execution is controlled and meaningful to the story and all the parts collectively are not discordant, even when the possibility was large. This quality must be appreciated by the viewers as not many shows can claim to possess it.
While the balancing of scale – the ideological battle of morals between Ana and Iris – was expected, carving out an entire episode to humanize the kidnappers was a special effort. Like every story has two parts, Snow Girl’s hidden reality came to life in that episode and it was quite impactful as well. This is the reason why the show does not find the truth in either the good or the bad half of the story; it exists somewhere in the middle, like real life.
Milena Smit capably shoulders the responsibility of providing depth to the show. Her screen presence makes a difference. Even with the closeups, Smit looks comfortable and says a thousand words through expression and emotion. It is steadied by the good direction that showcases maturity and sincerity.
The Snow Girl is truly a remarkable achievement given how saturated the genre is. The effort must be applauded for it is not easy to take the path that everyone else takes.