Snowpiercer, Director Joon Ho Bong's first English film, is a dazzling, thought provoking sci-fi masterpiece. After watching the director's Korean horror The Host last year I knew Bong would have a fine career. This movie exceeds expectations however. The story is fresh, the characters are gripping and the action scenes are, no joke, some of the best and most creative I've seen in a while.
The film is a post apocalyptic take on what would happen if the world entered another ice age. To try and combat global warming society uses a chemical that inadvertently turns the world into one giant ice cube. The only survivors are aboard a train that constantly circles the globe. The train is divided up into class distinctions; the poor citizens on the rear and the rich on the front. Chris Evans plays an idealistic poor passenger set on a revolution against the capitalistic front of the train, and this is where our story starts.
Snowpiercer is filled with grand ideas like social order and chaos, and what must be done in order to sustain an economic food-chain. The script, which is based on a French novel, is superbly built with just enough tension and fight sequences to keep our attention. But it's the characters that really bring us in.
Up until this point I've never taken Chris Evans seriously as an actor what with his constant superhero roles. In Snowpiecer though the actor is finally given some great material to work with, and Evans does a fantastic job of portraying the conflicted rebel leader. His speech towards the end of the movie is heartbreaking and revolting all at the same time.
The movie is filled with a wonderful cast of supporting players including the always great Octavia Spencer. Tilda Swinton plays a psychotic front car enforcer, John Hurt is a wise back car father figure and Ed Harris plays the mysterious Wilford, the creator of the train. The actor to really look out for is Kang-ho Song who plays a drug addicted engineer who is occasionally philosophical. I can't say enough good things about this cast, everyone is great.
The superstars of the film are really the art directors. The set pieces throughout the train and beautiful, vibrant and creative. One cart is a giant aquarium, another is a lush greenery, and another is a dance club. The sets alone are reason enough to see this movie, but the action and fight scenes are enough to watch this a second or third time. The midway fight scene between the lower class citizens and the aristocrats' axe gang is well choreographed bloodbath of epic proportions. Axes and knives are desperately tossed around in beautiful cinematography and breathtaking shots.
But it's the whole package that makes Snowpiercer a monumental feat of filmmaking. The acting, the action, the philosophical ideas all come together to make one of the most enjoyable sci-fi movies in years. Snowpiercer is one hell of a ride.
Recommended if you like Blade Runner, The Host, The Truman Show, great sci-fi movies that make you think.
Only explosions, bullets, fast cars and hot women allowed
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