Films like The Road, The Day, and The Divide always seem the most fascinating to me. How would people truly act if there was nothing left of the world they once knew? If a zombie outbreak or some type of natural disaster wiped out all we’ve grown accustomed to, what would we do with ourselves? Would we even be able to survive? There will always be a place for post-apocalyptic movies because they give us a glance at what may come if we were to ever actually face something of this nature. One of the most entertaining films that face these fears head on is a relatively new one actually — Joon-ho Bong’s Snowpiercer.
Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.
Although I’ve seen a number of films dealing with ‘the end of the world,’ some I’ve even mentioned already, never before have I seen one quite like Bong’s latest. Ordinarily, survivors are stranded somewhere or holed up in a shelter of some kind, now set in a new life of scavenging and hoarding what they find. This is not the case in Snowpiercer, however. Bong, along with his team of writers, has created an entire new ecosystem, one that thrives entirely inside an ever-moving locomotive. We’ve seen hierarchies form in other films, but nothing can compare to the order system we’ve now been introduced to. The tail section of the train contains the downtrodden, forced to eat ‘protein blocks’ and beaten and broken on a daily basis. They’d had enough and it’s now time to take back their lives and to have a real future, at the front of the train.
With each train car they overtake, they are one step closer to the engine. The engine where the leader of this new world, Wilford, sits in comfort and free of any stress. Each section of the train has its own purpose and it seems that our fictional leader and the non-fictional true creator of this story has thought of everything needed in a new world. From dentists to tailors, everything is present in the Snowpiercer. The wealthier class are treated to everyday luxuries and it isn’t until the captain of this newest revolt, Curtis, takes his tail section to the front that they even realize everything they’ve been deprived us for the past 18 years.
Every train car is designed beautifully, greatly distinguishing itself from the last. The greenhouse is littered with greens and the red of tomatoes, while the education car is brightly lit and wonderfully colored. These are very different from the dirty tail section and other darkly lit cars where blood is inevitably shed, along Curtis’ way. Even the iced-over outside world that used to be looks ironically gorgeous, thanks to Bong’s imagination and the work of art and special effects teams that worked on the film.
I’m as big a fan of Captain America as the next guy, but Chris Evans has never been more badass than in this film. I’ll take the dirty bottom feeder with a shady past over the ex-soldier donning the red, white, and blue any day. His acting was outstanding and his character worked extremely well with everyone else on-screen. I loved that he was a leader, but also reluctant to be so because of his past and his regrets.
Chris Evans is joined by an entire cast of excellent performers. I loved seeing Kang-ho Song who has worked with director Bong on a past production, The Host. His portrayal of a drug-addicted father leaves you to believe he is a character that you won’t be rooting for, but that changes over the course of the film, and even more so when we figure out what his eventual plan has been the entire time. I hope this film reaches a larger audience than Song’s previous work and gives him the opportunity to star in more US releases in the future.
Snowpiercer has it all, folks. Stunning special effects, an impressive script, and an all-star cast. The story is very well thought out with very little holes, if any. There is also some pretty brutal stuff, so all you gore fiends out there will be satisfied, as well. You can purchase a copy of the 2-disc Blu-ray release, out now from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
I give this film 4.5 matches out of 5.