Bong Joon-ho's SNOWPIERCER
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
As a high concept sci-fi epic SNOWPIERCER takes the cake. Orders of magnitude more complex, dramatic, and involving than the director’s excellent THE HOST, Snowpiercer enters territory made familiar by sci-fi novels involving multi generationalstarships where how things end up never seem to be the same as what initially was envisioned by the planners.
Only here we’re not talking about a starship but about an earthbound train containing what’s left of humanity after a program to reverse global warming goes hideously wrong and all life on earth is extinguished by a sudden freeze.
Except for the people on the constantly moving train. What has evolved in this “closed ecosystem” is a rigid cast system where the poor and downtrodden are in the back cars and the rich and well-off are in the front.
After 17 years of grinding subjugation by the jackbooted thugs controlled by the folks in the front the folks in the rear decide to revolt and, believe me, it is one hell of a ride as they work their way forward through increasingly dedicated and lethal opposition.
All the while the train careens through a snow blasted landscape where nothing lives. The revolutionaries led by a superlative Chris Evans pay a terrible price. Along the way we experience the culture shock of moving through increasingly exotic “civilized” environments.
What most impressed me about this film is the director’s attention to detail not only in terms of the physical production (sets, wardrobe, sound, and photography are excellent) but also in terms of story and character. Characters are given the time to evolve and grow. We know the story is outrageous but we’re seeing “real people” behave in a realistic fashion. As result we take this story very seriously which helps smooth over “you got to be kidding!” reactions.
Bottom line: this is an excellent and involving film. Don’t go to see it expecting a pleasant escapist thriller. Do see it if you want an original and hard charging no holds barred action flick that gives a lot of characters some very interesting things to say and to do.
Movie review copyright © 2014