Monday, July 7, 2014

[Review] Snowpiercer

Joon-ho Bong's first English-language film, Snowpiercer, is set in a dystopian world on a perpetual train called the Rattling Ark. This piece of machinery holds the last of the human race, and it's divided into classes. Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Song Kang-ho form the group of protagonists. They're from the back of the train (the poor area), and they're plotting to overthrow the establishment. Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris lead the upper class at the front.

Snowpiercer is an eclectic genre mix, drawing from sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, martial arts, and low fantasy. It's part tonally depressing political allegory, as well as absurdist satire that goes for smirks. The film also revels in the display of artier-side visuals, but it has the high octane action, scope, and accessibility of a blockbuster (for the most part). This clash of elements run together impressively well on all gears.

The action setpieces pummel by with exhilaration. There's an all out brawl in the dark with axes and lit torches. The views from the train whipping through the decrepit, ice-covered world are magnificently surreal. And the jarring contrasts between the train's back and front aesthetics make it seem like you're watching two different films.

Unfortunately, Snowpiercer loses a bit of steam at the end. I'm not implying that it doesn't go out with a bang, but the climax feels a litte shakey and it isn't as fascinating as everything that leads to it. With that said, there's no denying that we could use more hybrids like this.



  1. It has one of the most unique concepts I've heard of in a long time. Great allegory. I'm disappointed that it loses steam in the end. I will still watch it though!

  2. Loses steam - train pun intended? Heh, made me chuckle. Great review :) So sad this isn't showing in my city. I'll definitely have to check it out though :)

    1. I tend to use quite a few puns in my reviews, for better or worse. Sometimes it's the best way to get the job done. :)