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.
I’ve been dying to see Snowpiercer since it was first announced in 2011. Its dystopian sci-fi plot immediately grabbed me. Adapted from a French graphic novel that director Bong Joon-ho discovered, he decided to make the film and also have Park Chan-wook help out as a producer. It was released in South Korea back in August 2013 to rave reviews and an incredibly strong box-office. It was picked up for US distribution, but remains unreleased because The Weinstein Company wanted Bong to cut 20 minutes from his film, something the auteur has never had to do. I thought I’d have to wait forever to see it because of the endless delays, but thankfully the film is released in Europe on Blu-ray is fully available and uncut.
After all the hype, Snowpiercer lived up to my wild expectations. Typical of Bong Joon-ho, it’s dark, brutal, and at times even funny. The elements outside the train are a little goofy, it uses CGI animation to present the world as completely frozen over, but everything on board is done incredibly well. The sets are fantastic and as the heroes progress from the back of the train to the front, everything grows more lavish and ridiculous. There’s a lot of awesome fight sequences that reminded me of Oldboy's constricted and masterful hallway battle. The themes of class warfare reminded me of BioShock, there's a really funny classroom sequence where children learn the history of the train and its done in such a wildly glorified and perverse manner that's just like Infinite's museum scenes. Tilda Swinton is also a highlight, she hilariously plays a vile upper-class leader that serves as a way to garner hate towards the elite and as comic relief.
The whole film is incredibly bleak, but Bong Joon-ho still makes the ride enjoyable with his dark humor and awesome action. It’s another great addition to his impeccable filmography (Memories of Murder is one of South Korea’s best films). Track it down and watch it. Bong is a master genre filmmaker and his take on sci-fi is wonderfully unique and fun.