Snowpiercer Review

Snowpiercer is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho (Okja), starring Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Song Kang-ho (The Host), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four), Octavia Spencer (The Divergent Series: Allegiant), Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman), Ko Asung (The Host), John Hurt (Hellboy), and Ed Harris (The Abyss).  Based on the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.


Positives:

  • Great characters
  • Great performances
  • Good special effects
  • Good story
  • Great action
  • Good suspense
  • Fantastic cast

Negatives:

  • n/a

Plot: The movie takes place aboard the globe-spanning Snowpiercer train which holds the last remnants of humanity after an attempt at climate engineering in order to stop global warming has unintentionally created a new ice age. Curtis Everett, a member of the lower-class tail section passengers, leads a revolution against the elite of the front of the train. The film features a really good and original story. There are a lot of very thrilling moments that just makes the building of suspense that much more effective. Also, the story does a great job of gradually revealing the secrets behind the Snowpiercer and its crew.  There is a moment about 3/4 way through the story when it does slow down.  (4 out of 5)

Characters: The film does feature some pretty likable characters especially giving their motivations which make them even more sympathetic. Curtis (Evans) character is actually a very strong-willed and determined protagonist.  He leads the charge against the elitist who oppress the lower-class tail section of the train.  Following him are Namgoong Minsu (Kang-ho), Yona (Ah-sung), Curtis’ second-in-command Edgar (Bell), Grey (Pasqualino), Andrew (Bremner) and Timmy’s mother Tanya (Spencer); each character having there own motivations for supporting the revolution.  Really liked Tanya as she travels to save her son, Timmy that was taken. Gilliam (Hurt) is the spiritual leader of the tail section of the train and he is a good mentor to Curtis. He literally has given up his limbs to his fellow passengers. Minister Mason (Swinton) is Wilford’s spokesperson and the second in command on the train; is the most interesting and entertaining character.   Franco the Elder (Franco)  was pretty beast, he was menacing and he just kept coming.  Wilford is a pretty interesting antagonist as he is a douchebag but he does this logically.  It makes sense for the things that he does as he is trying to preserve humanity.  These are some pretty interesting and likable characters.  (4 out of 5)

Cast: Great performances by the main and supporting cast. Chris Evans (Curtis) completely kills his role, there is such a level of depth to his performance that it is just award-winning.  Also, Tilda Swinton gives a memorable performance Minister Mason. Octavia Spencer (Tanya) is also brilliant.  Supporting cast includes Jamie Bell (Edgar), Song Kang-ho (Minsu), Ewen Bremner (Andrew), John Hurt (Gilliam), Ed Harris (Wilford), Go Ah-sung (Yona), Vlad Ivanov (Franco the Elder) and Luke Pasqualino (Grey).  Other performances include Alison Pill, Adnan Haskovic, Emma Levie, Tomas Lemarquis, and Steve Park. (4 out of 5)

Visuals: The film does have a pretty look to it. The Snowpiercer train design is actually pretty unique and that it is taken off the sectional world that makes it that much more immersive. The clothing makeup and setting design is just brilliant.  The set up of the various sections was pretty unique, each serving an individual purpose. (3 out of 5)

Score: Thumbs up to Marco Beltrami for the musical composition which is crafted brilliantly.  The soundtrack does a great job of making the film feel deep while at the same time diverse. (3 out of 5)

Writing: This movie is just impressive in so many ways.  Bong Joon-ho does a great job of displaying his vision of the source material.  Not only is the movie comprised of so many different elements but how those elements are presented are done really well.  It is a science fiction but manages to be dramatic, action packed, and horrific while touching on undertones such as this war between poor and the rich and the lengths to humanity’s preservation.  There is a really good focus of the characters and their motivations.  The action is well paced and doesn’t feel completely over-the-top.  The most significant scene is where the revolution are ambushed by Mason’s forces in the dark.  A well executed scene that balances action and suspense.  The various cars do provide variety of tones.  There is also this awesome sequence with Franco the Elder and Curtis firing at each other from opposing train cars while the train is traveling down a spiraling track.  So all in all the script is actually pretty good. (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Snowpiercer is not only a great movie but undeniably one of the best of 2013.  The movie has great performances, a great cast, great special effects, a good score, great action, and great direction by Bong Joon-ho.  Thumbs up to Snowpiercer earning 4 out of 5.

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