Snowpiercer is set on a frozen Earth in the not-too-distant future. In an attempt to halt global warning, mankind has accidentally wiped out all life and warmth on the planet. Only those on the ‘perpetual motion’ Snowpiercer train are saved from the big freeze. The Snowpiercer takes exactly one year to circumnavigate the world and those on board are subject to bizarre laws and horrendous conditions.
For Korean Director Joon-ho Bong, who is known for ‘The Host’ (2006), this is a first attempt in the English language. And what an attempt it is! Snow Piercer hasn’t been released in many territories as yet but one might worry that it is a little too strange and at times illogical to survive in the mainstream. That isn’t to say it isn’t a good film, however. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Snowpiercer is an instant classic.
Starring Chris Evans (Captain America), John Hurt, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton and more, this is a star studded affair. It’s apt that John Hurt is amongst the stars as this film is reminiscent of one of his most famous films, 1984. I would be surprised if physicists didn’t have some issues with the science in the film but that’s not what it’s really about. Snowpiercer is, at its heart, an examination of our society and of the problems we may encounter down the line.
Some of the CGI isn’t as strong as one might have hoped for but it’s never so weak as to distract from the movie for long. The acting is excellent. The tone is peculiar and very much the antipathy of standard Hollywood fair. This is no art-house borefest, however. The action is unrelenting throughout and a few of the scenes are memorable to say the least. In particular, I’d recall a scene revealing the means by which food is produced and a scene demonstrating how malfunctioning parts of the train are replaced.
With its strange ideas about science, Snowpiercer is as much a bizarre fairytale as a science fiction movie but nonetheless has far more to say about our world than most Hollywood sci-fi efforts.
It’s not perfect by any means but it’s one hundred percent recommended nonetheless.
Reviewer: Dave Coughlan