Before Starting Snowpiercer Review I want to to scream out loud that I am a pretty big Chris Evans fan. I got introduced to him in a movie called The Perfect Score, and really started following him once I saw Cellular.
Being the superhero fan that I am being Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers have been fabulous roles for him. When I saw a premise for a foreign film that he was signing on to play lead in, the Sci-Fi thriller Snowpiercer, a couple of years back, I was pretty excited.
Snowpiercer: A Science Fiction Movie Review
Snowpiercer is a Korean film (my foreign film) directed by Bong Joon-Ho. With the majority of the selected actors for his film speaking English, he shot the majority of the film in English. [Being a slow reader, I was relieved to find this out because I struggle with subtitles and getting the meanings of movies.]
This is a science fiction movie based on the idea of a sudden ice age caused by man and the only soul survivors are the ones who received tickets for the global train. This global train travels around almost the entire world in 365 days. In the film we see a map where each Holiday has its specific spot on their journey, and the front of the train riders stop whatever they are doing to acknowledge the holiday.
The train is designed to be self-sustaining, self-energized, and never stops. When originally boarding the train, the people were automatically separated into groups by class. The train authorities have kept them that way for 17 years and controlled all food and water.
I was eager for this film be to out. It was one that I planned to see this past summer in the theaters. It had a huge release in Korea breaking release weekend records and holds the third highest grossing film in Korean history.
However, due to controlling disagreements by rights owners, on its American debut in June it was shown in only 8 theaters. Not 8 in Indiana. 8 in the entire US. Each theatre grossed over $20,000 that weekend from the film, so they released it in July in 150 theaters. Still I wasn’t able to get to it. With low screen time and venue exposure, Snowpiercer only grossed about $8 million in the US; however it grossed over $80 million in Korea.
Cast of SP
John Hurt is Gilliam
Ed Harris is Wilford
Jamie Bell is Edgar
Tilda Swinton is Mason
Kang-Ho Song is Namgoong Minsoo
Curtis, Edgar, and Gilliam are in the back of the train: the low class, the forgotten, the people who have their basic needs met with black protein bars for food and water, and not much else.
Gilliam is their elderly leader encouraging Curtis to take the reigns and lead them to revolt against the head of the train to claim equality.
I just have to say, this movie is bizarre with a capital B. Some things happen that make zero sense. There seems to be some spots added to the movie to possibly be for comic relief, that never reach a moment of comical; they just remain bizarre.
The intensity in Evans in this film is what I have come to expect from him in his action films. There are times he appears to truly struggle with his choices and decisions as Curtis, there are times you see the doubt he portrays when it comes to him being the leader, and you feel his determination at the times when he decides to take action.
One comic relief that I didn’t mind so much was Madon (Swinton). She plays a character like I have never seen her do before. It was nice to see a different side to her.
I guess I would look at this like a Hunger Games without any real cohesive connective understanding. I struggle with the logistics and concepts presented throughout the movie: aquariums that don’t change the size of the train car, but are big enough for manta rays, connective sections on a flexible train that are solid, how in 2014 our technology allowed us to build train tracks and bridges across an ocean, everyone in upper class knowing how to use a machine gun (including female school teachers) and the allowance of drug consumption in an environment where everything else is kept under control to keep a balance within the train.
As you get to the climatic point of the movie Curtis explains why he struggles so much within himself; being in the tail of the train when they first arrived, they had no food, so they turned to cannibalism. He even killed to eat others. These are moments when I appreciate Evans as an actor. He’s great at action, but there are times he can truly portray the heart of his character on the screen, and he does here telling his story and you hurt for him.
So, my rating, I give this a two. For the most part the acting was good. Even Swinton’s weird character was well portrayed. However, great acting with a lousy story line and no direction doesn’t give you a great movie. It gives you a bad movie with great actors that could have been so much more.
I will give a warning on the violence and language. I expected the violence because I knew the movie premise was of the revolt and in the poster Evans holds an ax. I did not expect the profanity as much as was in there. It’s not throughout, but in two scenes in particular, it’s in there more than would have ever been necessary.
I am curious as to what you would think about the movie. Many paid reviewers have given it pretty high marks and it has received some rewards.