Snowpiercer (2013)

Director: Bong Joon-Ho

Well, it’s 2015 now and I’m already sick of hoverboard jokes and Back to the Future Part II, indeed I was sick of them before it was this year, so why don’t we talk about this film and its chronological issues instead? This film takes place in 2031 but revolves around the consequences of a climate catastrophe that, in the story, happens in 2014… the same year in which it was generally released worldwide. Thus pulling off the interesting feat of being set in the future, which pretty much any SF film winds up being, while already being dated almost before it’s even been released. Oh dear.

Anyway, Snowpiercer is set almost entirely aboard a gigantically long train carrying the remnants of humanity after the aforementioned climate catastrophe, in which a noble attempt to stop global warming ends up freezing the planet instead; the train basically runs as a kind of mobile fascist state, with a place for everyone and everyone in their place… at least until a revolt breaks out in the tail section, where the “economy class” of humanity toils in service of the people up the front end of the train. As the story develops, though, we find there’s more to this revolt than even the people leading it realise. All this comes from a graphic novel and occasionally it feels like it does, especially when it comes to the characterisation (mind you, our hero, nicely enough played by Chris Evans, turns out to be carrying a singularly horrible secret); the storytelling is occasionally kind of wobbly and the logic not always certain, at least not immediately. The film does pick up some as it progresses from the back of the train to the front, but there’s something about it that left me unsatisfied, and I’m really not sure what… I also wasn’t a big fan of Bong’s The Host, which I know is otherwise almost as universally acclaimed as this, for reasons I couldn’t explain either. Although in the case of this film, Tilda Swinton’s overacting and accent (“There’s nowt wrong wi’ owt what mitherin’ clutterbucks don’t barley grummit”) were certainly a problem The Host didn’t have…

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