Imagine a post-apocalyptic dystopian world where hell has truly frozen over and the only survivors are on a super mega-train that travels around the globe, where a class type system is evolving? Interesting huh? Well, lets take a ride on the ol’ iron house and get into it without missing some train stops!
Based on the French graphic novel named “Le Transperceniege” by Jacques Lob, Snowpiercer tells the story of an environmental catastrophe caused by a device, the cw7, designed to lower temperatures. Turns out, this device induced an ice-age of sorts, introducing us to the last refuge of humanity all onboard a thousand-and-one car train called the “Snowpiercer”. An interesting concept and one that needed to be displayed on the big screen for sure.
Directed by South Korean, Joon-ho Bong (Memories of Murder, The Host, and Mother) in his first English-language debut, Snowpiercer is rich in style, successfully breaking through cultural and political boundaries while providing an impressive and visual example of dystopian science-fiction cinema at its best.
Snowpiercer offers a solid narrative with carefully drawn characters along with a respect for the audience’s intelligence. While its world may be implausible, it’s certainly engaging and further helping matters is the impressive and sprawling international cast anchored by Chris Evan’s strong and effective performance. There are other notable and solid performances equally as memorable from John Hurt, Ed Harris, Kang-ho So, Jamie Bell, and Tilda Swinton with her strange comedic performance (who is unrecognizable in this film at first look).
You see, I’m a sucker for implausability because it invokes the mind and is full of the creativity that I long for in cinema. Bong’s vivid depictions and production designs along with strong cinematography are beautifully orchestrated and captivating for the most part. Although, one of the more glaring issues with the film is the overuse of CGI in places, which does look sub-par at times, but hey, I can overlook that, I really can!
Joon-ho does create an air of mystery and intrigue; as the passengers progress from the dark, morbid rear tail of the train to the lavish splendour of the front carriages, “Piercer” evolves steadily, slowy providing telling information and further enriching the story with enough magic and wonder to suspend our disbelief entirely.
The film’s pacing is measured, but never slacks with adequate time taken out for nuanced, character-building scenes. You can certainly recognize lots of inherent holes and flaws in the journey to salvation, but the movie confidently pushes its premise throughout its run time.
By the end, the film reveals itself as a surprisingly thoughtful contemplation projecting the problems of today into a science-fiction tomorrow, while it ties together a compelling story that continuously shifts. We all think we know what will happen in the end; the oppressed are pushed to the limit and as a result they unite and rebel against their oppressors -exactly as we’ve seen countless times in a number of other films- but Snowpiercer I believe is one of the exceptions.
How do I see this film upon conclusion? Well, I see it as exploring humanity… Well, it’s a difficult and its a deep profound examination of the human pscyche. Specifically when it involves society’s lack of equality between rich and poor; Ones human nature can take effect and something is bound to happen!? Something that is truly real and existing.