Starring: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, Alison Pill, Ewen Bremner
Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
Synopsis: In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off most life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine.
Snowpiercer is a beautiful looking movie, which on the surface is a pretty fantastic movie but for one thing, there are just too many moments that are inconceivable. Now, personally, I can see past things like that in movies because, well, movies are movies. They are escapism. But, there still has to be some sort of rationale behind certain storylines or ideas.
This is where Snowpiercer falls down some what. You can’t dispute that the look of the film is fantastic, the concept is, although flawed, interesting for the most part. It has some excellent set-pieces and a great cast. But, a lot of it just didn’t hold together under not even close scrutiny. I don’t want to spoil too much about the film, but some of it’s flaws are quite big.
Chris Evans plays Curtis, the ‘leader’ of the downtrodden working class aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels in one big loop, taking a year at a time. The working class are shoved at the back of the train and treated like rats whilst, unbeknown to them the rich enjoy the fruits of the carriages ahead of them. They are on the train as the only survivors of the world freezing over. Get off the train, your dead within five minutes. But there is an uprising about to happen. The poor have had enough, they want to see what the rest of the train has to offer. Cue lots of fighting.
Unfortunately, there are so many glaring plot holes that Snowpiercer doesn’t fill that, despite it’s nice look, it takes the edge off. I mean, at the beginning we are told the guards or soldiers on the train have no bullets in their guns. Then, later on in the story, they miraculously do. Also, the train itself. How does it run? On what fuel? Does it never need to stop and be repaired? The poor eat blocks of ‘protein’ akin to gelotine. We discover this is made up of millions of crushed cockroaches. Where did they come from?
Don’t get me wrong, all this kind of stuff wouldn’t normally bother me, but there are some even bigger WTF moments later on and near the end that I won’t spoil, but kind of ruined the experience for me. That said, the film was still fantastically realised by the director, and even darkly comic in places. The school scene for example, and Tilda Swinton’s strange Yorkshire lass is kind of funny, if not a bit off putting.
I would say Snowpiercer is an impressive looking movie, and if you can ignore some of the points I listed above, and the extremely iffy ending, then I’m sure you will find a fair bit to admire. If plot holes bug you, then approach with caution!