In the year since Snowpiercer’s 2013 international debut, director Bong Joon-Ho has been engaged in a public battle with Harvey Weinstein to keep his creative vision in-tact. Critics rightly sided with the director, and clamored for an unedited U.S. version.
Last month, the film finally had the limited theatrical (and wide VOD) release it deserved, and while I thought his vision was well worth the battle, I’m not convinced it lived up to the heavy praise it was given. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic distopia in which all of humanity is forced to live on a moving train. Social class is dictated by ticket fare, with the proletariat back car starved and oppressed by the Hunger-Games-ish first class, and mysterious engineer Wilford, in front. This concept is original (in specifics if not broad strokes), stylishly executed, and easily the film’s greatest strength. The plot, unfortunately, didn’t reach quite the same heights for me. Characters could almost always be traced back to a well-known Sci-Fi archetype, actions and dialogue felt unmotivated for the first 2/3 of the film, and I can only take so many blood-splattered stabbing sequences before it all feels a little repetitive — regardless of how well-choreographed the stab or how pretty a set piece the blood splattered on. It’s a good movie, and if you liked Equilibrium you’ll probably have fun with it. But don’t go in expecting a masterpiece.
Thanks to Gary from Melbourne for requesting the review, at: