By Darin Skaggs
Joon-Ho Bong directed The Host about a decade ago. On first look it is an incredibly fun monster movie. With a deeper examination it is a look on the US government, family and countless other things. With Bong’s new film and first English speaking film Snowpiercer he has made one of the best action flicks of the year that is also coated in deeper meanings.
Snowpiercer takes place in a future version of earth that is going through a second ice age due to the humans trying to play God. The entirety of the human race is all on this train that, as long as it keeps moving, everyone on it can survive. It makes zero sense but the presentation and tone makes you forget the implausibility of the story. Our introduction inside the train is in the very back. This compartment is dirty, not taken care of and it is clear that it is not really cared about. We learn very soon the back is ready for a revolt. They plan to move up the train to take it over and get what they deserve.
Chris Evans plays our protagonist, Curtis, in one of the best performances of the year. He is not the leader but is fully on board for the revolt with many others including other great performances by Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer and John Hurt. There are several great cameos in this film; it makes you feel excited for who comes next.
Now let’s get down to the silliness of this film. It is never stated how big this train is but all the compartments are so different that each and every one feels like its own short story. Sometimes there is a classroom story, there is a room solely made to make food with a gut wrenching reveal and other rooms are just for showering. Much like the wait for who got a cameo appearance next you will be excited for what is in the next section. None of this makes sense but as said before the film’s tone pulls you into the movie and makes you completely on board with it.
This is also an action packed thriller. Most scenes are our heroes struggling to survive their way up to the front of this long train. There is a room that is just full of masked men holding axes whose one goal is to stop our group. The scene also promises in this film, no one is safe, and keeps that promise throughout the film. With all this action you could miss all the social commentary. The film takes a look at class with the back of the train being the lower class and the front of the train not really struggling, mostly having raves and relaxing in saunas. Like Joon-Ho Bong’s other film The Host he sprinkles some political overtones into the film.
Now films similar to this in tone and structure sometimes have a hard time deciding on an ending. This film knows the right way to take it. It is a dark, ambiguous and strangely beautiful ending that fits with the film as a whole. Snowpiercer is a blast of a film that gets you thinking about the struggles of our world. Filled with fantastic performances from some familiar faces that you do not see coming, it is a wonderful film.