"Snowpiercer" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 12/18/19
After an experimental solution to global warming goes horribly wrong, the planet undergoes a new Ice Age and the last vestiges of life on Earth are confined to a self-sustaining train that constantly circles the globe.
In a similar way to High Rise, Snowpiercer is a rather clumsy analogy for class and inequality as the front of the train contains the decadent and over-privileged few while the squalid rear holds the underclass who suffer at the hands of the rule-enforcing middle. Inevitably revolution brews and a suitably intense Chris Evans leads the people forward in an attempt to address the injustices of the system. While the rabble locks horns with the fascistic police force who oppress them, the usual sci-fi standards kick in as the roots and causes of their situation are revealed. The resulting mix of heavy-handed moralising, cartoon violence and political analogies reminded me very much of live action Manga with a rather more star-studded cast. John Hurt is on hand to add some dramatic weight, Song Kang-Ho is one of the few characters who capture the imagination and Tilda Swinton puts in an amusing turn as a Python-esque middle class bureaucrat. This type of surreal humour is touched upon more than once, aiming as it does for a similar vibe to Brazil – the scenes in the school are particularly oddball and fun – which is clearly intentional; Hurt’s character is even named “Gilliam”.
Although it lacks the wit and sophistication of its inspirations and its message gets increasingly muddled as the film goes on, Snowpiercer is unusual and off-beat enough to warrant a look for anyone interested in sci-fi with a political slant.