Based on the French graphic novel “La Transperceneige”, Joon-ho Bong’s “Snowpiercer” plays out in the not too distant future and like most movies that take place in the not too distant future, things aren’t looking too good for us as a species. In a last-ditch effort to stop global warming, we fucked up and ended up in a new ice age with just a couple of humankind surviving on a high-speed luxury train, made by a wealthy industrialist named Wilford (Ed Harris).
Now, I said luxury train but it’s only the wealthy upperclass living in luxury while the less fortunate have to make due with cramped quarters and protein bars that are made of… well, you don’t want to know what the protein bars are made of.
Needless to say, the people not living in luxury are getting fed up with shit and elect Curtis (Chris Evans) as the reluctant leader that gets to lead the charge. Along with an old-timer named Gillian (John Hurt) and a junkie who used to be the train’s original engineer (Kang-ho Song) among others, Curtis plans to make his way to the front of the train in order to confront Wilford and set things straight.
Along with co-writer Kelly Masterson, Bong takes this rather straight-forward premise and managed to turn it into one of the most riveting action movies I have seen in quite some time. In lesser hands, the confines of a train might have cramped the movie’s style but in this director’s hands, it becomes one of this movie’s biggest strengths. Flashy action sequences are set alongside beautiful viuals of the desolate landscape outside while dramatic moments are followed by scenes that are slightly out there and reminded me of Gilliam’s “Brazil” with a bit of “Twelve Monkeys” thrown in.
As you may have read somewhere, there was quite a battle going on between Bong and Harvey Weinstein, the movie’s distributor, who demanded that 20 minutes be cut from the film. He finally gave up but then made this movie a limited release… which means that way less people got a chance to see “Snowpiercer”… which is a damn shame. Hopefully its release on DVD will set things straight!