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Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the earth has been engulfed in ice, and the only remnants of the human race is living inside a self-sufficient train. Director Bong Joon-ho immediately throws us into the conflict, where the residents of the back carts decide that they had enough of the treatment by the residents of the front train, and decided to stage a coup to take control of the train.

Post-apocalyptic films are usually centered on the subject of survival, particularly of the main characters. Snowpiercer also banks on survival, but unlike other films of the genre, it plays on social reasons. The social standing of a person usually plays a backdrop in other works, as the government's regime is usually the primary reason for revolution. However, Snowpiercer focuses on those issues as the reason, because the way I see it, in their world, everything is held constant. They're all inside a train, and fighting to survive the cold. It can't be because of the government, because there is no government; they all adore Wilford (the creator of Snowpiercer), and somewhat established a rather flimsy system. The film describes the back car residents as stowaways - does that mean that everyone else has bought their right to live inside? If they did, how do they make more money? There's no use for any kind of trade; in fact they're living off using their prime resources, technologies that they develop or vastly improve on whilst inside the vehicle. The only possible work inside the train are manual jobs that involve health, education, food, and leisure. There isn't even a use for warfare because who are they going to fight? In the long term, everything is held constant inside the train. You can't buy anything because any kind of exchange will be fruitless (and if they did work on exchange, it will just cause chaos). As the film explicitly pointed out, the train hasn't stopped moving, which means that there is no way in or out, nor are there also any possibilities for outside interaction. So it was really the maltreatment that the residents experienced that led them to revolt, a maltreatment that is further expanded in latter scenes of the film.

As the film progressed, there are a lot of plot holes that emerged, but it still didn't hinder the unpredictability that Snowpiercer was able to establish. As the characters go through the train, we're never really sure of what could cross their path - both the danger and the amazement of it. We're given glimpses of the content in some of the cars, and they hold surprises of their own. The film itself is unpredictable in a way that we're not entirely sure of what to expect, but as each scene played out, there was always that constant hunger for survival, to see their plan throughout even with any danger that they faced. Scenes were shot in conflict with each other, depending on the tone that the film was currently in. Most of the scenes that stood out for me were midway the film, particularly the school car and the tunnel scene. The color palette complimented these shots; it provided the scene with the right mood, the right atmosphere, the right emotion that you're supposed to get, whether if in awe, in daze, or simply sensing some kind of danger. 

Lead by Chris Evans, his performance was far from his Captain America alter ego, but it was good. His character, apart from Song Kang-ho, was given some kind of back story (its placement might have not made so much sense, but it tells a lot about the conditions of the revolt). He didn't stand out from his fellow actors, nor did any of his co-stars outshine him. Instead of acting out different pieces, they all complimented each other, and attached themselves to their role. Usually in films similar to this, actors should be standing apart from their peers, but they merged into one unit, assimilating themselves into the film. Ed Harris though, could have used a little bit of character content, because his character is one confused, yet highly sadistic person. 

Although there were many plot holes, Snowpiercer was still an interesting film. The translator machine could have been a little louder and clearer; it was hard to understand mumbling at a low tone, for one. I didn't expect it to end the way it did, but that's what makes it unpredictable.


Final Word: There was so much hype surrounding Snowpiercer. The film was indeed good, but was it really that good? 

Cast: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Year: 2013

Comments

  1. For me, Snowpiercer asked so many questions, answered a few and still managed to be interesting! It kind of shows that logic doesn't really have to exsist to greate a thrilling movie, to have a certain appeal to it. It is probably my favorite graphic novel adaption to date.. I don't want to say comic book, cause then I'd be having Marvel kicking me in the guts but in comparisson to Sin City, Snowpiercer is much better.

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    1. I liked the unpredictability of it, it adds to the thrill of the film. It does ask a lot of questions, in particular about the human society (in my opinion). It's a refreshing take on the post-apocalyptic genre.

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  2. It was definitely something new, and I also struggled with the translations, but it was a good film and I'm glad the blogging community introduced me to it or I might have never seen it :)
    - Allie

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    1. I wish they could have placed subtitles on the translator parts, that machine was not helpful in terms of volume.

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  3. I think it was really THAT good, but I've probably got my goggles on. I know there were a lot of issues, but I had such a good time watching it.

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    1. It was good, and I actually think it's underrated. It's the intensity of it being good that I think might be over hyped.

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  4. I complained about the volume of the translator too. I watched it on a movie channel :(. Had I watch it on DVD at least I could have the subtitles up, but seriously didn't they have test screenings to know that the volume on the translator device was too low and unclear?

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    1. Maybe watching the DVD will make a difference to the translator. I watched the movie in the plane, and the volume was so low, it was difficult to understand what they were saying.

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