Review: Snowpiercer

Genre: Action|Sci-Fi|Thriller Directed by: Joon-ho Bong Starring: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell Written by: Joo-ho Bong (screenplay), Kelly Masterson
Genre: Action| Sci-Fi| Thriller
Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
Starring: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris
Written by: Joo-ho Bong (screenplay), Kelly Masterson


Synopsis: 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. (c) Imdb


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The world, as we know it, is gone. Set nearly two decades after an ice age that wiped out most of humanity, the remainder of civilization is settled on a bullet shaped-looking train circling what’s left of the globe. There are only two social classes on this train with the front of the train run by the wealthy and powerful, while the poor and feeble are housed in the back of the train. The engine is the “holy grail” of the vehicle and those who live in the back of the train never gets to see the front or the “engine”. The engine is a feat of technology, completely self sufficient, and is what keeps the train moving and the civilization afloat. Curtis (Chris Evans) is the appointed leader of those who live in the back of the train, with he and his people attempting to be reach the front in order to confront the train conductor. Curtis and his crew encounter various obstacles and villains along the way.


Part of the message Snowpiercer tries to convey is the depiction of a societal hierarchy, which is a common subject that’s been conquered in film before. Instead of sending a message or setting a perspective on the poor versus the rich, it merely uses it as a means of centering it as the main story of the film. The effects of global warming on our planet is the other statement that the director tries to make but seemingly as the back-story of the film with the social commentary being overlooked and not coming through with what’s displayed on-screen.


Chris Evans looks like he's stuck in a coal mine
Chris Evans looks like he’s stuck in a coal mine


Director Joon-ho Bong doesn’t completely miss on all levels. He does a nice job teasing the viewer with what’s outside the train and there are some truly impressive shots of this glacial outside world that can only be sparsely observed and is mostly imagined by all of the rear train passengers. The special effects look imaginative, but also cartoonish at times. The storyline is simple in context with the cast of hero’s simply attempt to “get to the front of the train” and discover what’s going on there. The way the film moves along is repetitive and confusing and a lot of the action scenes are overkill with a large amount of blood, guts, and gore are nauseating.


The cast of Snowpiercer is without a doubt the main draw to this film. Chris Evans leads this cast as Curtis, the quiet and determined leader of the back of the train people. Evans is fairly solid in the role with him competently holding his own in the fight scenes and there is also an aura of intrigue surrounding his character. The supporting cast consists of some people you might not expect to see in a hardcore Sci-Fi like this. Ed Harris plays the main villain and train conductor “Wilford”  doesn’t disappoint with his performance. He’s actually charming and mellow as villain villains with “Mason”, the other villain, portrayed by Tilda Swinton. This might be her most eccentric role to date as Swinton is a complete riot in this film and she’s as wild and bizarre as it gets. Rounding out the supporting cast are familiar faces Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Jamie Bell.


The Blu-ray/DVD of the film has a separate disk with just the extra features and “The Birth of Snowpiercer” is a 50 plus minute story about how the movie came together. “The Character” is a 15 minute feature about the main characters in the film while discussing their roles and importance. “Animated Prologue” is an 8 minute feature that consists of a computer animation depicting the events that lead to the beginning of the featured train civilization. “Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton on Snowpiercer” is short feature about the actors talking about why they decided to take on their respective roles. The Train Brought to Life is a 15 min feature on the screening of the film in Austin, Texas. Transperceneige is a feature with the director and crew discussing the film and the effects.


Snowpiercer is one of those love it or hate it kinda film. If you are a hardcore, weird, and futuristic Sci-Fi then you might enjoy it. The film is all over the place, and feels repetitive. The cast is very impressive, yet the story does not suite to most of their strengths. Still don’t get the point of this film or what’s noteworthy to take away from it?


Snowpiercer – 3 out of 10!

A train going nowhere

Snowpiercer available everywhere on DVD and Blu-ray is a futuristic Sci-Fi that you will either love or hate. The film is a cluster of what it wants to accomplish.

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About Jim Alexander

When it boils down to it, Jim's passion is entertainment. Aside from being an avid sports fan, that follows all things NFL, NBA, and Soccer. He currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago. At the core of his interests...movies! Whether trying to catch the newest flick coming out this weekend, or the latest On Demand release, to heated debates with his friends and colleagues about the most recent "Box Office Blunder". The passion for movies lies deep within him. When he isn't writing, he immerses himself in his other interests; Acting and Radio Broadcasting. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimRko.

5 thoughts on “Review: Snowpiercer

  1. The movie is very good, if you dont have time, you can watch it in this link.

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  2. I personally loved this movie. There’s a lot of cliche elements/ideas that are used in this film but the overall refinement of the ideas into this nice compact yet cohesive film made it really good.

    The surprises, twists, and thought evoking nature of the film and the social commentary that’s echoed on screen made it really really compelling to me and I think it’s one of the best sleeper films released in recent memory. Solid 7 to me.

  3. I do agree that there certainly could have been more to this movie. I really loved the separation of classes and the different themes of each train car. I feel that Bong did a good job of setting up the scene and the environment. I love how he makes the Snowpiercer feel like a viable and reasonable vehicle to sustain life. With its own greenhouse, butcher house, clubs, classrooms, restaurants, and spas, the set pieces really brought the movie to life and are a unique setting compared to movies set in buildings. However, overall I do feel that the storyline is a bit lacking and that many times it lacked the punch that is necessary to engage the audience. Like most independent films however, I also agree that this is a love it or hate it film.

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  4. You are absolutely right, this is a love it or hate it film. From your review I take it you didn’t care too much for it. I on the other hand am a, “hardcore, weird, and futuristic Sci-Fi” fan. The story is simple, I’ll give you that, but it’s that simple underdog story that is so easy to get behind. The whole time I was rooting for Curtis to make it to the front of the train; too win. I in fact enjoy the repetitiveness in the movie, it was fun anticipating what was going to be in each of the cars as they moved up the train. Each fight kept me captivated and as new information was revealed it made me reevaluate my guess on what was really gonning on. Kudos to the casting choices! Chris Evans can play any character, and get a better performance out of everyone he’s on set with. The ending held enough twist that it shocked me but held on to a feeling of hope that left me satisfied. My standpoint on the theme is elementary – justice; do the right thing because, it is the right thing to do.
    Thank you for sharing your opinion, I enjoyed reading your veiw on the movie.

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