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Snowpiercer (2013)

October 5, 2014 1 comment

snowpiercer-international-posterEarth has frozen, everyone is dead and the world is a white barren place, well almost.  There is a small number of people left aboard a perpetual motion train that circles the globe.  This train has a class system, closer to the back the lower the Caste System, with the more affluent passengers riding closer to the front of the train where the inventor of the train Wilford (Ed Harris) has been raised to the status of a living deity.  The plot of the film focuses around the revolution that the tail passengers start in an effort to gain control over the locomotion engine.

—Possible Spoilers Below—

The film has a vibe of Terry Gilliam in some of the characters who contrast heavily with the main cast.  The tail passengers (those at the end of the train) all have a very grubby and grunge aesthetic with comparisons to the Matrix characters once they’ve jacked out of the machine being apt.  The antagonists however are wearing bright livery with a design that seems to borrow heavily from 1950’s high fashion with long coats and fur.  This clash of cultures works to show how different the living conditions are for those at either end of the train.

Once the revolution starts it works it way through the train and we are treated to some brisk action scenes that remind me of the raid in that the action is brutal but doesn’t seem to revel in itself the way something like hostel does, its utilitarianism in the damage doing enough to convey the destruction and primal energy but stopping short of becoming indulgent or pornographic.  The camera work varies through several unusual shots for the film including a first person sequence which acts as a pleasant palate cleanser.

The film does at points seem to be heavy with its message but that doesn’t prevent the film from being enjoyable and there are sufficient hooks in the plot to keep you asking what is happening and just how far down does the rabbit hole go in the film.  Once your shown the squalor that those in the tail live in you are then shown a rather unpleasant representative or two of the head of the train and from that point you know exactly who you’re rooting for.

The film is enjoyable, it keeps the main plot moving and throws enough surprises in to keep you from becoming bored but the run time does seem excessive and near the end the film does seem to slow before the climax but these are forgivable in a surprising film that for me at least came from nowhere.  If you get the chance to see it I’d tell you to take that opportunity.

Categories: Films, Geekery Tags: , ,