Title – Snowpiercer (2013)
Director – Joon-ho Bong (The Host)
Cast – Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Alison Pill, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremmer, Kang-ho Song
Plot – In the near future after a failed attempt to halt global warming goes horribly astray and plunges the world into extinction, a group of humanities sole survivors live life out abroad the Snowpiercer, a train on a continuous loop around the globe and a train that harbors a class system of the rich and the poor. Survivors led by Curtis (Evans) at the trains end however decide enough is enough and plot a revolution that will take them all the way to the train’s mysterious leader Wilford.
“Know your place. Accept your place. Be a shoe”
Review by Eddie on 6/6/2014
Mark my (un-professional and un-qualified) words cinema lovers, Snowpiercer is destined for a long and healthy life as not only a cult classic but a Sci-Fi genre classic and despite all its lengthy and well talked about post production troubles (that involve delayed releases in Western countries due to Harvey Weinstein thinking this may be too smart for Western audiences) Snowpiercer is a film that defies categorization or a comparable title and works in almost all areas that it should of failed in.
Joon-ho Bong director and maker of the fantastic creature feature The Host has here with his first English language movie crafted a unique and often freakishly original adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, filling his tale with brimming to life characters, high energy action and a script that often goes to unexpected and intriguing places. Heightening these facets achieved is the fact that the entire movie takes place on a moving train, not exactly the typical place to tell a 2 hour plus tale of class structure and pin point examination of human nature. That Bong had the courage and skill to pull this off is testament to his talent behind the camera and it cannot be underestimated just how well he pulls off the telling of his material. Bong also has at his disposal a to die for and on form cast and a production crew that have pulled off some of the most impressive set design seen in sci-fi for some time.
The people aboard humanity’s last harbourer of life are filled with relatable characteristics, flaws and all including the train itself act as living breathing members of the film thanks to a wonderful portrayal of a class system aboard a moving locomotive. Each section is a wonderment of production and thought from a brainwashed children’s classroom to a fully-fledged aquarium, one of the true joys of the film is seeing what awaits our revellers behind each unlocked door. This group of revellers lead by Captain America himself Chris Evans in much gruffer form as reluctant leader Curtis are a mightily interesting bunch. From Jamie Bell’s loyal second hand man Edgar, John Hurt’s limb missing wise man Gilliam and Tilda Swinton’s barely recognisable Thatcher like matriarch Mason, the cast brims with colour and life and takes Snowpiercer to comparable levels to Sci-Fi classics like Alien/Aliens in terms of cast likeability.
With all its troubles involving Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein Snowpiercer truly deserves more acknowledgment and sadly that may take years down the line to come to fruition. Marketed the right way Snowpiercer could’ve easily been one of the year’s sleeper hits and possibly even award winning features. Visually stunning and filled to the brim with ideas you get the feeling as many films in the past have proved, glory may take a while to achieve but once it arrives it’s just as sweet as ever and ladies and gentleman you will one day be calling this a Sci-Fi masterpiece, a call that is absolutely deserved for one of the year’s best films.
4 and a half protein jelly blocks out of 5
Snowpiercer has not yet been released in Western markets but Blu-Ray copies are available from overseas markets with English language options.
So excited for this one! It’ll be in limited release here in the States at the end of the month I believe, glad to hear more positive response to it
So strange it’s been treated the way it has but highly suggest tracking it down mate on the big screen, a real blast and super unique.
I saw this one at Busan’s film festival and it was amazing. Any word yet if Weinstein is truly cutting twenty minutes from the film? When I saw it I couldn’t figure out where the cuts were viable. Bong is such a dynamic and economical storyteller that I hope nothing is lost in the Western release.
From my understanding Caitline it seems one version for all markets so no cuts! Hasn’t stopped him from barely advertising it though, very sad it will be a massive box office bomb but the life it will live in the home video market should be long and prosperous. Agree that there was nothing wrong with its pace or original cut, it was nigh on perfect for what it is.
That’s such a relief to hear. If nothing else all this press about him potentially cutting parts of the film might serve as buzz for a film he’s not really marketing right now. I agree with you that it will have a long life post theatrical release though. It could easily achieve cult status, particularly with its adaptation of classic video game style (each car being a level with a boss fight). People are going to connect with this film in so many ways.
Holy crap I really must see this!
Tom my man you really do! This movie will blow you away just so good to see a high concept beauty like this come off, great performances all round make it even better.
While most SciFi movies stem from novels in English, the fact that this one came from a French Graphic novel (http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/28/5335822/snowpiercer-english-debut) assures relative obscurity and lower expectations by readers from the film. For a film I had never heard of, you have piqued my interest.
Absolutely should be keen for this one Pot, a real blast and likely to be highly talked about for years to come.
Hoping this is going to make it to the UK soon!
Maybe the end of June/July? I think I read it somewhere that that was the case 🙂
This cast looks so great, I’m happy they worked well for you, too. Can’t wait to see it!
You should rightfully be pumped 🙂 a great cast all at the top of there game.
I really enjoyed Snowpiercer, its just a shame they can’t leave the original cut alone. I love how stylistically you can tell its based on something French!
Man I actually hope they release an extended cut somewhere along the line got a feeling there is even a better version out there.
One of the few recent perks of being from Asia; Snowpiercer’s Blu-Ray. The movie is going to explode (even more) once it hits US screens.
I hope so Mark p, it really deserves to.
Can’t wait to see this! I recommend Bong’s “Mother” too. (sorry if that sounds like a crude insult :P)
Oh excellent mate after this and the Host I am pretty keen to check out more of his work.
It’s not out in the States yet? If you recall my review, I was let down a bit but the ending is open for all kinds of possibilities. I want to see the original though. Heard it was better.
I look forward to seeing a true directors cut one day 🙂
Wonderful review, Ed. I really like Bong Joon-ho’s films & just like his other works, this was an emotional roller-coaster ride with strong shifts in mood & focus.
A solid English-language debut for the famed Korean director.
Great to see him transition to the English market so well hope he comes back for more despite this ones bad treatment
Absolutely cannot wait for this one! 2014 seems to be shaping up as a great year for tilda swinton prosthetics
For sure my man, can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one, pretty keen to grab the recently translated to English graphic novel to.
I am a big fan of this movie! Fantastic review, and definitely well worth the watch!
Cheers Zoe, great to hear you dug it to! Can’t wait for more to see it.
I am totally in agreement with you there!
So glad you got to see it! I was spoiled over here in Korea and saw it last year – stellar film.
Yeh man it is a shame it has taken the route it has over in Western markets, it’s a really ripping yarn.
Never heard of this film until you and, I believe the other was Dan the Man, mentioned it. I plan to buy it when I get the chance.
Well worth it, an extremely unique flick and if possible worthy of the Blu-Ray treatment.
Also, the fact that you put “Alien” and “cast likeability” in the same sentence disgusts me.
How so mate? Personally (and I think there may be some backing me up) I reckon Alien has one of the great all round Sci-Fi casts and therefore was comparing Snowpiercer ensemble to something relative.
You obviously haven’t read my Alien quadrilogy reviews.
Sorry dude can’t say I remember every word of every persons reviews – my bad! Checking in then though it’s pretty clear you aren’t a massive fan but each to their own mate. I would say their are quite a few fans of the crew of the Nostromo (just basing it off a casual #49 on the IMDB Top 250 and various other classic lists) so in comparing that I would say that comparing cast likeability to that is something that people would have interest in.
I think the majority would agree with you. However, in my opinion, the whole quadrilogy was awful. I hated Sigourney Weaver every second.
Yeh man can’t say Weaver does that much for me but I thought in the first flick the crew had enough interesting characters (led by Jones the cat of course) to create something interesting.
I know! Jones the cat was like a best actor or something in this!
The director of the Host (the good one!) got to make another movie. There is justice in the world after all!
Great justice mate, especially how good it turned out fir him.
Ever since I read your review I’ve been hoping we’d be seeing it here. I had never heard of it before. Now it looks like it will finally be here within a month at the latest. I can’t wait to see it.
That’s great Joan I think it is out in limited release there this week yeah? Hopefully somewhere nearby is playing it.
Yes. It starts in limited release on the 27th. We’ll have to see where and when it comes to DC. Unfortunately, it pains me to say, in somethings we lag behind NYC.
Thank you so much for alerting me to this movie. I probably wouldn’t have seen it without reading your review. I saw it on a very small screen, but it was well worth it. I’ve been telling everyone they should go see it (for those few unenlightened who don’t read my blog 🙂 ). And interestingly enough, last night one of the local DC TV film critics also gave Snowpiercer a very positive review (he’s a tad behind).
Thank you again for the head’s up.
Joan that is fantastic to hear! Thanks so much for letting us know we helped lead you to this fantastic and under seen flick, if,we cam but help a few film loving souls find some great worthwhile films our job is done 🙂 protein blocks for all!
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