Snowpiercer opens with a bald-faced lie and ends on a solid truth. It is as much science fiction as parable, and it is an action-packed, driving story whose mysteries and characters will drag you along from the opening to the end.
Evans delivers a performance as dark as his Captain America persona is righteous and light. He is barely recognizable. Surrounding him is a host of great talent from Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), to Hurt (1984), to Spencer (The Help), to Bell (Nymphomaniac, Billy Elliot), to Harris (Gravity). Each drops in their particular brand of talent, building out a world that is at once impossible and yet fully explained before the final reel unspools.
The fight over the release of this movie was legendary… with the director, Joon-ho Bong (The Host, Mother), winning the battle to keep it complex and edited to his vision rather than reduced to a watered-down result for US audiences. Bong has a unique sensibility and a complete lack of fear about where a plot may lead him. He blends dark humor and horror seamlessly, and manages to make a point when he wants to. There are a few moments in particular that are painfully poignant in their targeting. These abilities made Bong very capable of co-writing and directing this adaptation based on Le Transperceneige. It isn’t quite perfect, but it is damned good on the technical as well as the entertainment notes.
Sadly, it isn’t getting into enough theaters, though it is available on VOD now in parallel. If you can see it on the big screen, do. It is visually rich and deserves that treatment. I had to settle for an HD stream as the nearest show was an hour away and I am betting I wasn’t getting to see the whole image with the clarity a screen or blu-ray would have provided. I’m still glad I saw it now rather than waiting. This is the kind of film that needs support if we’re going to keep being provided with films that matter rather than a constant march of sequels and banal comedy.