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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Snowpiercer (2013)

There have been many post-apocalyptic movies dealing with civilization crumbling due to a variety of catastrophes from manmade to Mother Nature striking back and Joon-ho Bong, director of The Host (the monster one not the drippy Stephenie Meyer one), has now certainly made one of the better installments to the genre. Think The Road Warrior only with a frozen world instead of a desert and a lead that makes Mad Max seem happy go-lucky. Based on the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jean-Mar Rochette we get a grippingly grim tale of few against many in a very, very cold world.

The story takes place 17 years after mankind tried to stop Global Warming by seeding the atmosphere with a chemical that would halt the warming and bring down the temperature. Unfortunately it worked a little too well and froze all life on Earth. The only survivors are those “lucky” enough to be aboard the Snowpiercer an amazing train that continually circles the globe while keeping its closed eco-system safe from the frozen wastelands. It isn’t all sunshine and lollipops for everyone as there is a strict class structure dividing the train into First Class, Economy and the Tail Section, and you certainly don’t want to be in the Tail Section. It makes the steerage section aboard the Titanic look like Club Med.

 No one dances an Irish Jig here.
The people of the Tail Section are led by Curtis (Chris Evans) who represents the physical will of his people, Gilliam (John Hurt) who could be considered their intellectual center, and Edgar (Jamie Bell) who is clearly the heart.

Captain Antarctica
Things are bad in the Tail Section as they are forced to live off horrible protein gel cubes and occasionally have their children stolen by those who run the train for who knows what purpose.  And if you find yourself on their shit list you will either be put in prison, which is basically a body sized drawer, or you have your arm stuck outside of the train until it freezes solid and then shattered. There have been previous rebellions, all of which failed, but Curtis has been getting secret messages telling him about a prisoner (Kang-ho Song) a former security officer,  who can open the doors between train compartments. With this edge the revolution may stand a chance.
Tilda Swinton as the slimy bureaucrat Mason
This a taught action thriller set in a bleak dystopia with a fantastic cast that never fails to engage the viewer. As the rebel group fights their way car by car towards the “The Engine” taking on murderous axe gangs and elite killers as they claw tooth and nail through the levels of society and towards something even they aren’t sure of.
Not a warm and fuzzy security force.
 Director Joon-ho Bong has done an amazing job creating this small world of survivors amongst a global disaster and as each minute ticks by we the viewer are treated to both wondrous and disturbing images as our heroes discover the secrets of the Snowpiercer as well as secrets about themselves. This film hasn’t really been promoted much and that is a shame as it’s one of the best I’ve seen this year.   This isn’t just an action flick, though it does have great action set pieces, but a movie that has a strong message about the world we live in now.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine.”

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