Director: Joon-ho Bong
Writer: Joon-ho Bong, Kelly Masterson
Based on: Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette‘s graphic novel Le Transperceneige
Cast: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Kang-ho Song, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Alison Pill, Ed Harris, Luke Pasqualino, Ah-sung Ko
The world is frozen in its entirety. The only people left are hurtling through it on a high-speed train. On the train there is a strict class hierarchy – in the front, the rich people live. In the back the poor live in squalor. One of the poor people is Curtis (Chris Evans) who quietly organizes a rebellion with the help of Edgar (Jamie Bell) and Gilliam (John Hurt). But getting to the front of the train might be the least of their problems.
Snowpiercer was an exciting film. Tense, with a weird sense of humor and great action scenes. It did not have the most innovative of plots, but with an awesome setting and beautiful cinematography it more than makes up for that.
Snowpiercer’s plot is practically one huge allegory and one that has been done before. The ruling classes using the poor, controling them to keep the system up, a system that was created, in the first place, by unthinking expansion etc etc etc. Since it is an allegory, it often sacrifices plot and world-builiding logic for allegory fitness (and cool images). It probably could be done better, plotwise, but I’d argue that it lies in the nature of allegories that this will happen because it is mor important that the underlying story is coherent than the ones we get to see on the screen.
And if you disregard the plot holes and just get on the train, you will be taken for quite a ride (I’m sorry, I promise this will be the only train-pun. The rest of the review will be on track) [Dammit]. First of all, the train itself is a thing of beauty. The set designers must have had so much fun with it. At least as much fun as the costume designers – the costumes were great as well.
The cast was brilliant, too. Chris Evans is consistently good in his films and he proves so again here (I would love to see him in something other than a hero-ish and/or fratboy-ish role for once). Kang-ho Song was great, especially in his dynamic with Ah-sung Ko. I wanted more of Octavia Spencer. Much more. Tilda Swinton, of course, shines in her weirdly cartoonish role. It seemed at odds with the rest of the film, but only through a Hollywood lense. It was perfectly fitting for a Korean movie. And this was, at its heart, a Korean film in a Hollywood costume.
The fights were pretty awesome, the pacing was good, the images wonderful and I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire film. What more could you ask for?