Saturday, December 20, 2014

Snowpiercer (2013)

IMDb plot summary: Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.
Directed by Joon-ho Bong. Starring Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris, and John Hurt.

This is such a cool premise for a story, and for most of the movie, it works. But there are also some weird, weird moments, particularly in terms of visuals. While some of the visuals work beautifully -- the images of the cold, dead world outside are striking -- there are some things that don't work at all. Tilda Swinton's character especially comes to mind. In the middle of this very bleak story, we have a character who is exaggerated to the point of cartoonishness. Perhaps it was a deliberate attempt to contrast the frivolity of passengers at the front with the life-or-death situations at the back, but it had the effect of making several of the fairly serious scenes comedic. I haven't read the graphic novel, so I don't know how faithful the imagery is, but that one in particular didn't work for me.

My smaller nitpicks include an overabundance of hey-weren't-they-dead? characters coming back to life for no particular reason, and a distracting reliance on slow motion for a lot of sequences, particularly in the first half. But these are smaller, because overall it's a unique and engaging story that creates a fascinating world, even if it stumbles a few times getting to the end.

3.5 stars.

Flickchart: #732 out of 2281, below Silent Movie and above Steamboat Bill, Jr.

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