Sunday 6 July 2014

Snowpiercer Movie Review!!!

Can Captain America captain this crazy train ride to success, or are we gonna have a runaway train wreck on our hands??? Read our Snowpiercer review to find out!!!

Rightfully so, this movie has been getting a lot of buzz and I was fortunate enough to be able to get my hands on the Hong Kong Blu-ray release of the movie prior to its formal release in the west.

For once, here is a movie that really lives up to the hype and expectations.  It’s easy to see why it’s earned a super high 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  The movie, made on a paltry $39million budget, has already grossed $80million worldwide and it hasn’t even been released yet in most territories!

The premise may sound farfetched but it makes for some compelling cinema.  In 2014 (yes 2014) scientists attempt to combat global warming via a special weather experiment.  Inadvertently the world is plummeted into an ice age and all life on the planet is brought to the brink of extinction.

The only human survivors are on board a special train called the Snowpiercer.  A huge train designed to survive the harsh environments of the frozen world.  Running on a perpetual-motion engine, the train has to keep moving otherwise it risks freezing and killing everyone on board.  The train track goes around the entire world with one complete revolution of the track taking a full year.

On board the train is a full self-sustaining eco-system with food, water, fish and animals.  Sounds nice if not for the most extreme class system divide you will have ever heard of.  The rich elite enjoy an opulent lifestyle at the front while the poor go hungry and live in squalor in the rear of the train.

We are given a glimpse of the hell they have lived in for 17 years and the oppression is extreme.  No real food, dirty, dark, damp, rusted and cramped quarters.  It’s a suffocating hell with no obvious way out.

But the poor have not lost hope, they dream of a revolution, of over powering the bad guys, reaching the front of the train and taking over control.  The rebels are lead by Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) and elderly mentor Gilliam (John Hurt) as they go after Wilford, the train’s creator living at the front of the train. 

Additional help comes in the form of Namgoong Minsu (Song Kang-ho), who helped to design the train, and his daughter Yona (Go Ah-sung).  Interestingly, they also played father and daughter in the director’s break out movie The Host.

But this isn’t going to be an easy ride, no previous revolution attempts have succeeded and in addition to the numerous carriages that separate the front from the rear, there are hundreds of guards and soldiers.

Can the good guys prevail??  Watch to find out!!!

From the director who brought us the fantastic Korean monster flick The Host; Joon-ho Bong now brings us a mighty fine thriller in Snowpiercer.  Based on Jean-Marc Rochette's French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige.  

Reports are that Bong read the entire comic cover to cover while stood in one of his favourite comic book shops in 2005.  Did he buy the comic?? Who knows!  What we do know is that he was fascinated by the social class system on board the train and the unique dystopian tale of confined, extreme social stratification.  Needless to say, he wanted to turn it into a movie and here it finally is!

Korean movies can be pretty great.  There are classics like Old Boy, My Sassy Girl, The Host, A Bittersweet Life and even hit TV shows like My Love From Another Star (stay tuned for my review).  Snowpiercer is the first to successfully bridge the Asia / West divide; it’s a successful intercontinental collaboration, featuring notable actors from both sides of the globe.

The film is a tense gripping thriller from start to finish with powerful performances throughout.  Captain America in particular, once again proves his acting chops in a powerful scene at the movies finale.

The unique setting of the film gives everything a very tense, claustrophobic quality.  It is undeniably Korean in flavor but should still be readily accessible to western audiences.  Think of the movie as a superior version of Hunger Games made specifically for adults. 

Agreed special effects of the frozen world could perhaps have been slightly better but this should not detract from your overall enjoyment of the movie, especially as most of the scenes are in the train’s interior.  

Also worth noting is that this is not an action movie per se, it’s not Captain America 3.  Think of it more as a damn good thriller with a few cool action set pieces.

Snowpiercer is well worth your time and money.  Get your hands on it, find it on the big screen, get the Blu-ray, and watch it any way you can – you’ll thank me for it later!


Rating 4 out of 5


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