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'Snowpiercer': novel sci-fi

"Ice-bound" sci-fi
"Ice-bound" sci-fi
Moho Films

Snowpiercer, a whizzing action/sci-fi film out in theaters this Friday, takes a novel approach to the typical "Post-apocalyptic" thriller. Thankfully for us, Korean director /writer Joon-ho Bong has taken a rather unlikely scenario and completely sold it. Not only is Snowpiercer a compelling action flick, but the sci-fi elements are smart as well as darkly twisted (an important component in the "selling" of Snowpiercer's story).

Is this starting to sound vague? Without giving away any major spoilers, Snowpiercer is about a unstoppable train going around and around the globe in an ice-bound post-apocalyptic world. The train contains the last of the world's population, but not all is what it seems. What's happening on this train makes for an interesting study in classism, dystopian politics, power plays and morality, and Machiavellian musings.

Starring Captain America's Chris Evans, Snowpiercer has an interesting "foreign" quality no doubt due to this being Bong's first English-language film, and the fact that the story is inspired by a French-language manga (which is like a graphic novel). This quality to the movie asks the audience to swallow some big leaps in rationality, but it also makes for some spectacular movie "vignettes" that leave a mental mark.

Tilda Swinton, a human chameleon, plays a chillingly strange "foreman" and mouth-piece to the Powers that Be on the train. Evans' character is from the last train car, where the all the bedraggled "peasants" live and die and "know their place." When he receives a strange note, he begins a quest up the train (and social ladder) and discovers some disturbing secrets.

If you're looking for a novel sci-fi movie experience, check out Snowpiercer this weekend.