Heavy social commentary which may or may not hit its desired target. But when a film has such straight forward storytelling and thrilling action, the good outweighs the bad.
OVERALL SCORE – 4/5
Snowpiercer is a 2013 sci-fi dystopian action movie directed by Bong Joon-Ho, written by Bong Joon-Ho and Kelly Masterson, based on the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob. Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette and stars Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Allison Pill, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Sonh Kang-Ho and Ko Asung. The film attempts to explore a revolt conducted by the lower classes over their overlords in a post-apocalyptic future where a constantly moving train is the only safe haven.
When a film is made by a guy named Bong, it instantly becomes hard to hate. That is just a fact of life to be honest. Jokes aside, Snowpiercer is an extremely fun 2-hour train ride. The film can pretty well be compared to a video game. A player starts from the least intimidating level and moves up level by level, exploring new things and learning more information about the world he thought he knew. The fact that each level is laced with its own breed of action is just the icing on top of a pretty delicious cake.
Chris Evans, truth be told, is a blank canvas here. He is the man who is audience is supposed to superimpose themselves on. The fact that he looks somewhat similar to Keanu Reeves hammers that statement home, just that much more. The emotions however comes from the supporting cast. Every single important man, woman and child our lead character runs into always has a little story of their own to tell. It is somehow reflective of the train being its own ecosystem. Every single type of human being exists on it. The film gets some extra points if that piece of meta-commentary was planned.
Tilda Swinton is here just lighting up the screen again and clearly proving that there is no role the woman can’t pull off. I, personally, would like see her as David Bowie in a biopic based on the great man’s life but that’s a topic for another day. Almost all the other performances are on point and no actor seems to be phoning their performances in. They don’t do great but they aren’t bad either. Big shout out to Allison Pill for one the best little cameos in a film.
Asian filmmakers are always fascinating to watch. The fact that they do not find the need to reign themselves in creatively and are allowed to go full steam ahead with some extremely fun ideas, make their films a joy to watch. The direction here is extremely clever. Tense moments are earned, the dark humor is hysterical, the violence is creative and not gore for the sake of gore, the social commentary is subtle (reminiscent of Telly Gilliam films), it’s just all round enjoyable. Park Chan-Wook being a producer on the film might have had something to do with how the film turned out but that can only be speculation. The film-making here is very fun and one might wonder if such a rich film can be created with a $40 million budget, why do movies with the same themes but with astronomical budgets flounder so much.
The film has a story to tell and has themes it wants to address. The depth to which the themes kick in might be subjective. The way the story unfolds however, in a dystopian action film, is a treat for any fan of a good pulse pounding thrill ride.
OVERALL SCORE – 4/5