Snowpiercer – Movie Review
Snowpiercer – R
Release Date: Thu 01 Aug 2013
Snowpiercer is a sprawling science fiction drama about a future where the Earth has become a frozen wasteland after a botched attempt to correct global warming ends up spectacularly overcompensating and freezing everything. Everything, that is, besides a super train that can run infinitely and survive by clearing its own track, a closed-loop that circles the globe at a rate of once per year.
The movie starts nearly eighteen years after the catastrophic man-made ice age and many of the inhabitants of the train have been born there and don’t remember life before the train. They are divided into classes by section of the train with the lowest class in the rear of the train and the upper class in the front. Chris Evans plays Curtis, a man looking to take over the train for the lower class with the help of his mentor Gilliam in a great performance by John Hurt. Tilda Swinton plays Mason, the face of the ruling class in a fascinatingly bizarre over-the-top performance. Curtis and Gilliam’s plan involves finding the imprisoned Nam (Kang-Ho Song) as he designed the gate mechanisms and can presumably crack through them allowing the resistance force to advance toward the front of the train.
The storytelling feels episodic; there’s a feel as though each car is an issue or two vs. the movie having one specific arc. There’s a lot of ground to cover and several twists and strange sequences and characters that will keep you guessing. For some, the strangeness or tenuous ability to suspend disbelief may pull some sequences apart but this is certainly a thinking movie that asks a lot of the viewer. It’s the kind of movie that makes for great conversation and could be taken apart and studied for symbolism and subtext. There’s a lot to consider here, and that makes this a movie worth coming back to for a second and third time.
Juliette, Christian, Jeremiah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car: