A post-apocalyptic ice age forces humanitys last survivors aboard a globe-spanning supertrain that functions via a perpetual-motion engine. One man will risk everything to incite a revolt for control of the engine and the future of the world.
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Bong’s point is that the end of capitalism would not be possible without considerable violence on both sides. We see this also in the anti-capitalist films of the Soviet master Sergei Eisenstein, who also depicted scenes of violent upheaval and brutal repression in “Battleship Potemkin” and “Strike” (both 1925). The end of capitalism, it seems, would be tantamount to the end of the world.
Bong seems to understand something many others don’t, both about broad entertainment and the state of successful political action. Big action demands broad strokes; nuances emerge later. In fact, this is to a large degree the political subtext of Snowpiercer itself… Moving from car to car is a vulgar-Marxist revolt organized like a videogame, easy to understand and equally easy to dismiss.
We think we know what to expect from action scenes, just as we think we know what to expect from post-apocalyptic movies and tales of revolution. Again and again, Snowpiercer plays against the expectations it sets up. Up through its final moments, this is a film that is thrillingly, unnervingly unpredictable.
I avoided this film for two years because I had heard very mixed reactions, from this is horrible and overrated, to this is a genuine masterpiece. Upon watching it, I admit I fall into the latter camp.
There hasn't been a movie with this combination of gritty violence, wild imagination, and epically stunning visuals in like 10 years. It's like this came from an alternate reality where directors like The Wachowskis and Alex Proyas didn't sell out and make a bunch of wack cliche stuff. It often forgoes logic in place of creativity and visual awesomeness, but that's part of what makes it so great.
The political allegory in this is so heavy as to balance a massive multi-participant axe battle (among other things) and yet 2 weeks after watching this I am still chewing over wither the ending is hopeful or bleak?
Absolutely sure I'm not the only person to say this, but like Bioshock on a train, Snowpiercer is chock full of surprise, intensity, humor, and thoughtful insight. I went in blind and came out of one the better movie-going experiences I've had in recent member. Absolutely see this film in theaters while there's still a chance to- it's an exciting and unique experience that I won't forget, and honestly don't want to.
A formidable film with an inventive story, a great directing, an impeccable casting (I recognised several actors I had seen in "minor films" or series and was glad to see them there along with famous faces, all perfect in their roles), some right emotion and nice stylised action scenes far from the usual hollywoodian mess/crap. Chronologically speaking the last SF film about as great that I saw was Children of Men.
It may sound ungrateful when the movie features a psychotic Tilda Swinton and a character named after Terry Gilliam, but Snowpiercer could have been nuttier. Part Metropolis, part Dawn of the Dead, it's best when it's totally bonkers, but too much of it is flat: the action is often either prosaic or almost incoherent. Still, even if it tosses the pieces of its plot up in the air, they land in a pleasing fashion.
First time on the big screen. Not to undersell this film's potent class commentary or effective cinematic language (where left in the frame means regression and right means progress, no matter the cost), what continues to be my favorite part of "Snowpiercer" is the surprise of seeing Bong Joon-ho cut loose with some visceral action sequences. I kinda love the thought of this being some 13 year-old kid's "The Matrix."
Don't watch it for any political meaning. It's about as subtle as a sledgehammer. It's 'Die Hard' on a train. It reminded me of 'The Big Bus' which was a disaster movie parody in the 70's. It's also a gigantic video game. Why would they turn this into a TV show?