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  • Gareth Crook

Snowpiercer (2013)

I’ve not seen many Bong Joon Ho films. Parasite I loved, like most everyone else. Okja, I really didn’t, although I didn’t hate it. Snowpiercer has a good reputation, an interesting synopsis and to all intents and purposes should be right up my street. 2031, the earth a frozen wasteland devoid of life after a global catastrophe. The only survivors on board an train circumventing the planet... bare with me. Curtis and Edgar inhabit the lower class part of the train, where the literal unwashed masses are treated like shit by guards preventing them from moving further to the front of the train. It’s a hierarchical class structure, where the rich at the front of the train enjoy an altogether different life. But they have a plan and boy do you want it to work! Children are taken from parents, punishments involve limbs being exposed to the extreme cold outside the moving train, it’s pretty gripping stuff. The cast is quite amazing too, especially Tilda Swinton, a philosophical believer in the structure of class with a broad Yorkshire accent and fur coat. Easy to be philosophical when your at the front of the train though. John Hurt is at the back with Chris Evans and Jamie Bell and it’s lovely to see him on screen again. As they push to the front, each car reveals more of this new world, sometimes joyous (daylight), sometimes bizarre (aquariums, classrooms), sometimes horrific (the truth behind the protein blocks they eat). Moving through the carriages, it’s a simple device, but very effective. It does get a bit smashy and stabby through the middle section with a large portion of the cast finding their journeys end. Despite the festivities taking place toward the front of the train though, these people are all clearly nuts. Isolation isn’t good for the mind. It all gets a bit symbolic in its finale, but it works and mixes its blockbuster style and visuals with a simple but well delivered plot. Bizarrely made me want to take a long train journey... once we’re out of Coronavirus lockdown.



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