When Zack Snyder made his heavy-hearted departure from Justice League earlier this year after a tragic personal loss, fans of the blockbuster director were unsure when they could expect to see him back behind the camera. In a surprise move, Snyder revealed last week that he had been working on a microbudget short film asking, “What can you do with your talented friends & family, no money and a weekend?”
The answer is Snow Steam Iron, a seedy tale of crime and revenge told in Snyder’s dialogue-free, four-minute short film, which is now available to watch on the Vero app. The website tells us that after a career of increasing scale, “more epic world building, longer schedules, larger crews, more VFX,” the director was looking for “an opportunity to change the alchemy, to challenge himself with new variables, to literally look at filmmaking through a new lens.” Which lens? Well, that would be an iPhone, on which Snyder filmed Snow Steam Iron will the help of a small group of friends and family, and a cast that includes Victoria Jacobsen, Samantha Jo, and Kristin VanOvan.
The result is distinctly Zack Snyder. It may be the most Zack Snyder thing Zack Snyder has ever Zack Snydered. Whether that’s good or bad news will obviously depend on your appreciation of his filmography. He’s a filmmaker who has always made stunning looking films, and Snow Steam Iron is no different; there’s no denying that this has got to be one of the best-looking things ever shot on a phone, absolutely dripping with Snyder’s signature style.
But that style comes with some, uh, problems that are keyed up to eleven when Snyder is stripped down to his elementals. I have long been uncomfortable with his casual depictions of glamorous violence against women and his dependence on that violence as a vehicle to drive his plots. That quality has never been more jarring than in Snow Steam Iron, which is a crystalized exhibit of his aesthetic, for better and for worse, and let’s just say he hasn’t lost his taste for the fetishization of abused female bodies. Yes, it’s a revenge story, but that doesn’t give a filmmaker carte blanche to exploit such pernicious imagery all willy nilly.
In any case, if you’re curious to see what I’m talking about, or if you have no interest at all in what I’m talking about and just want to see some new Snyder, either way, to watch the film you’ll have to download the Vero app where you can watch Snow Steam Iron in full.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“Snow gently falls on the blood-stained streets of a seedy out-of-time New York City. Steam envelopes the nightmare unfolding within its narrow alleys. Iron is the will of the one who would dare to resist… fight… survive.”