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When smooth-talking salesman Jimmy Stark's (Guy Pearce) car breaks down in an isolated town, he visits a fortune teller (J.K.Simmons) to kill the time. There's good news and bad news, but the bad news is devastating: Jimmy's days are numbered. Jimmy turns from being sure of himself to becoming paranoid. Neither his girlfriend Deidre (Piper Perabo) nor his best friend and business partner Ed (William Fichtner) understand why he is so concerned, but Jimmy begins to wonder if his past is catching up with him.

Review by Louise Keller:
A first rate thriller, First Snow is about a man haunted by his past who revisits it in a bid to change his destiny. It's a terrific role for Guy Pearce, who ably carries the film on his shoulders, appearing in almost every scene. There are resonances of Pearce's role in Memento as his Jimmy Stark tries to piece together the jigsaw puzzle of his past, and like Memento, Stark is not an especially likeable character. But Pearce makes him fascinating and we become engrossed in the events as they unfold.

It starts when Pearce's slick juke-box salesman Jimmy Stark is stranded out of town, waiting for his car to be repaired, and impulsively pays roadside fortune teller Vacaro (superbly played by J.K.Simmons) to tell his fortune. The good news about an upcoming windfall and successful business venture is easy to take, but cynicism turns to concern when Jimmy senses Vacaro is not telling him everything. The way writer director Mark Fergus handles the revelation about the shadow of death that is following Jimmy, is superbly done, when he is told 'You're safe until the first snow.'

Suddenly, Jimmy's life is coloured by doubt and fear and tension starts to build. There's a health scare, anonymous phone calls, a threat in the mail and the sudden reappearance of his former partner, who has just been released from jail on parole. Each is played out as a red herring as we wait impatiently to discover what will happen when the first snow starts to fall. Jimmy tries to reassure himself that a man makes his own destiny, but Vacaro's words start eating away at him. William Fichtner is terrific as Jimmy's best friend and Piper Perabo makes Deidre (Jimmy's patient girlfriend) real. This is a moody film and Pearce's prominent facial bone structure is used to advantage in close ups in dim lighting, as obsession sets in.

All the characters contribute to the storyline and there's an eeriness when Jimmy wakes up in the final reel to find the ground covered with snow. What happens next is what we are waiting to find out.

Published February 5, 2009

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(Germany/US, 2006)

CAST: Guy Pearce, Steven Michael Quezada, J.K. Simmons, Nicholas Ballas, Piper Perabo, Rick Gonzalez, William Fichtner

PRODUCER: Bryan Furst, Sean Furst, Tom Lassally, Robyn Meisinger, Bob Yari

DIRECTOR: Mark Fergus

SCRIPT: Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus


EDITOR: Jay Cassidy

MUSIC: Cliff Martinez


RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes



DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: January 7, 2009

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