Snowpiercer – Review by Jamie MacDonald

In a way the film reminded me of Bruce Lee making his way up the pagoda in Game of Death, each railroad car revealing something else about the train, some of the encounters are surreal and some violent

2013s intense violent thought provoking Snowpiercer finally gets a blu ray release in the UK. It is a very dark social Sci Fi thriller full of twists and turns with a few shocks on the way. Writer Producer and Director Bong Joon Ho adapts French Graphic Novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette into a stunning post-apocalyptic vision.

An attempt to reverse Global Warming goes very wrong and plunges the world into a new ice age. The remains of humanity board the mega train Snowpiercer which runs on a globe spanning track. A new class system is very much present on the train lower class in the tail, the middle is economy and the Elite at the front. Under the ever-watching eye of Wilfred Ed Harris and his Minister Mason played by an unrecognisable Tilda Swinton. When you first see Minister Mason – she gives the lower classes, a lesson on their place on the train the scene gave me the fear and her performance is both terrifying and terrific. Curtis (Chris Evans), his sidekick Edgar (Jamie Bell) with the all-seeing wise one Gilliam (John Hurt) are waiting for the right time to start an uprising. This presents itself when Wilfred sends his guards to seize two children. Curtis must free Namgoong Minsu (Song Kang-Ho), to help him get through the sealed doors of each carriage to make his way through the train to Wilfred.

In a way the film reminded me of Bruce Lee making his way up the pagoda in Game of Death, each railroad car revealing something else about the train, some of the encounters are surreal and some violent. In one scene Curtis our reluctant hero leads his men against masked guards. One of the most violent encounters in the film. So intensely filmed it is as Minister Mason sends the guards in with night vision gear plunging the car into darkness to stop Curtis and his men`s advance. Stating that 70 percent of you will die each carriage is vastly different showing how it evolved into a rather messed up society of the privileged elite and the rich. Who decides what happens to the lower class in the tail of the Snowpiercer. How are those protein bars that the poor eat made? It`s a film you can watch and get something new from it, with every viewing. Snowpiercer certainly stays with you after it has finished.

Bong was careful while filming Chris Evans not to show his physic and its so refreshing to see him in a non-Superhero roll. His performance is the driving force behind Snowpiercer, and for me, it`s his best all round acting in any film he has been in. It's always good to see Jamie Bell he is the keen sidekick, that has just had enough. John Hurt as the wise one who guides Curtis on his rebellion. Very well cast all around. I have mentioned how terrifying Tilda Swinton`s Minister Mason is. I have always felt that Ed Harris is a truly underrated actor, as always, he is just solid in his roll of Wilfred. My favourite character and actor in the film is Octavia Spencer as Tanya a doting Mum that just wants her son back. You could say it`s a rather silly concept but the film works well. Due to it`s amazing direction by Bong Joon-Ho. He had a vision for the film and very much stuck to it.

There are so many interesting stories about the clashes between Bong Joon Ho and the scum that is Harvey Weinstein, during filming and after the making of the film, but we will not get into that here. I`m just incredibly happy that the film will finally receive the attention it deserves. With his wins at the Oscars for the incredible Parasite I for one hope that this will help people find a whole new world of subtitled cinema that they might not have looked at otherwise!

Snowpiercer is on Blu-ray™ and DVD now from Lionsgate UK


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