November 18, 2014


Joon-ho Bong, 2014
The world is has been forced into a modern-day Ice Age after a global warming solution failed. The remaining inhabitants of Earth now live on a transcontinental train that circles the globe once a year. The lower class inhabitants live in the rear carts of the train while the upper class resides in the front, more lavish end of the train.

Korean director Joon-ho Bong's (The Host, dystopian sci-fi piece runs on an inventive concept that mirrors some of the class warfare of the Hunger Games with some of the offbeat humor on a futuristic backdrop of The Fifth Element. The fast moving train is unforgiving. The back end carts are fed gelatin-like bricks of processed protein that resembles out of the can cranberry sauce (except a really disgusting version of it), while the front end dines on lavish meals consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables and meats. The never-ending tension reaches a boiling point early on the film and the lower class passengers decide to rebel under the leadership of Curtis (Chris Evans) and guidance of Gilliam (John Hurt). As they attempt to push forward to the upper section of the train, you see a brilliant progression of the luxuries (probably the best feature of the film, such a pleasant surprise) awarded to the upper end of the Snowpiercer hierarchy. There are moments when the cart doors open to a barrage of defenders and you witness sequences not seen since Tarantino's Kill Bill.

Because it's Bong's English debut, there is likely some things that got a bit mixed in translation. Some of the humor feels misplaced, a bit awkward at times. But it's completely forgivable. There is enough meat on the bones to the rest of the picture. Snowpiercer is visually appealing and built on an innovatory premise with some good performances, and that's enough to make a good sci-fi film.

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