Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, that was made into a South Korean sci-fi action film in 2013, then brought to the U.S. and distributed by the Weinstein Company. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic climate-change future where an extreme temperature change dropped the world’s temperature dropped rapidly to where the entire globe was covered in a new ice age. According to the back-story, it was an experiment to counteract global warming gone awry that caused the ice age which killed virtually all life on Earth. Now, with all life on the planet — except for the lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that circumnavigates the Earth annually — houses all the remaining survivors.
The train and the interconnecting rail system was designed by a wealthy industrialist named Wilford, who now lives at the head of the 20-car massive train. During the 18 years that the train has been traveling, a class system has emerged aboard the train, with the very wealthy living in the front and the very poor living in the tail. The living conditions in the tail section are so horrible that the population there is constantly plotting revolution. Reluctantly lead by Curtis the survivors at the tail end of the train stage yet another revolt to take command of the train, setting off an epic battle to take the engine and improve their lot. As the motley crew slowly advances through the train, they encounter numerous obstacles as well as uncovering inconvenient truths about their world.
This is a brutal and bloody rebellion that shakes up everything those in revolt know about their life on the train. The film depicts class struggle and makes all sorts of parallel comparisons to the state of the modern-day world. Unfortunately, the film is currently only in limited release (mostly in art houses around the U.S.), but it is available on-demand through some cable networks. Despite its relatively poor PR, knowledge of the film is rippling through the Sci-Fi, film, Geek community, and gaining an on-line audience and very positive buzz, as it is an exceptionally thrilling film with a solid cast of American actors. The film is depressingly bleak, utterly harsh, and totally brutal in its depiction of its dystopian future, but it is also stunning brilliantly in its execution of this darkly compelling vision of a future gone mad. Not necessarily for everyone, but we do strongly urge those looking for not the usual synthesized Hollywoodland action film, to seek out this amazing film and watch it.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.