Sky’s the limit in this top quality sci-fi epic. Snowpiercer is a brilliant movie for everybody and it will live through word of mouth. So, here I am telling you about it. I think I’m in love; it’s entertaining as hell! It has comedy, action, tragedy and social satire. It’s great stuff, all the more so for its tongue-in-cheek style.
The story is a powerful one: It’s 17 years into the future. Earth has frozen over in an Ice Age caused by a botched experiment to cure climate change. The only humans left alive are living on a high-speed train, that zips its passengers around the world. This is now the reality for mankind – stuck on a train, in which everyone is separated by class.
The poor, led by Curtis (Chris Evans) and his loyal friend, Edgar (Jamie Bell) live in the tail end, a run-down part of the train where they’re forced to survive off scraps. At the front end are the privileged, middle-class people, such as the mad villainess Mason (Tilda Swinton), who ride in luxury carriages.
It’s when Curtis decides enough is enough, that an uprising ensues. Egged on by wise old man Gilliam (John Hurt), all the dwellers in the tail end rally together and push forward to try to reach the front section. Director Bong Joon-ho pulls out all the stops, as Curtis and his men charge with a vengeance.
The battle scenes between the rebels and the guards are glorious; it’s action as good as I’ve ever seen. However, this is a thinking people’s action movie and a visually demanding piece, from a director so confident, he’s happy to have scenes that are borderline ridiculous.
Bong Joon-ho doesn’t try to make a realistic film. In fact, I’d say the aim was for it to be as ‘surrealistic’ as possible. The events unfold like a comic strip, drawing attention to its hyper-exaggerated commentary on modern life. Humanity has literally ruined everything. All that’s left is a giant train with chaos aboard. It’s a bone-crunching statement from Bong Joon-ho. Here he offers a personal vision that society is heading down a dangerous path while wrapping it up in brilliant sci-fi.
Snowpiercer is not to be missed. With an electric cast, it floats between seriousness and bonkers humour without feeling overstuffed. Make time to see it.
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Writers: Bong Joon-ho, Kelly Masterson
Stars: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Alison Pill, Luke Pasqualino
Run Time: 126 minutes.