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.
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.
Set in 2031, the entire world is frozen except for those aboard the Snowpiercer. For 17 years, the world's survivors are on a train hurtling around the globe creating their own economy and class system. Led by Curtis, a group of lower-class citizens living in squalor at the back of the train are determined to get to the front of the train and spread the wealth around. Each section of the train holds new surprises for the group who have to battle their way through. A revolution is underway.Written by
Wilford congratulates Curtis for being the first human being to walk the whole length of the train; however, Claude, Wilford's assistant, is seen at the tail of the train, as well as the front. Though Claude does not travel very far into the tail section and while she has been in every car, Curtis has been to the very back of the train, making him the only person to traverse its entire length. The children taken by Claude, however, were the first people to travel along the entire length of the train. See more »
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Remember Metropolis, the great silent film by Fritz Lang, and probably the most revered science-fiction film of all times ? Well, if Snowpiercer is not such an absolute masterpiece, I do believe it's the best reiteration of the same concept that made Lang's film so unique : asking questions about the condition of mankind in a futuristic society, and how it does and does not evolve as compared with current times.
It's good that not all near-blockbuster scale sci-fi movies do not come out of Hollywood anymore. Snowpiercer is based on a long-forgotten 70's French graphic novel. The Korean director got his hands on a bootleg translation in a Seoul bookshop while filming The Host and got totally hooked. The end product is a French-Korean production, in the making of which one of the authors of the original graphic novel got directly involved.
The plot is simple : ecologist freaks have pushed governments to unleash a gas in the atmosphere to control global warming, this proved so effective that the world is now a standalone, snow-covered giant ice cap. The only survivors are all aboard a revolutionary train that goes on and on making loops around the world. It's like Noah's Ark, but including the politics that come with it : first class, second class, workers, fraudsters, the ticket is your fate - for generations. And the consequences are extreme, to such and extent that you can't conceive. Prepare to be shocked at times. Imagine the vertical multistoreyed humanity of Lang's Metropolis, the horizontal way. Some of the tail section fraudsters decide to rebel against their condition and progress to the head car of the train regardless of the risks. Every car they go through bears its grotesque and mind-bending surprises. And tells us more about how this society actually works and what it relies on.
This film has style. Even though it reminds of Gilliam (see 12 monkeys) and Matsumoto (Galaxy Express), there is real personality and originality. CGI is limited to a few breathtaking scenes that really add up to the storyline. Acting is mostly excellent, especially by Ed Harris and John Hurt. But most importantly, this film triggers reflection, soul-searching and debate like true Sci-Fi gems should. Unlike most Hollywood movies, it is not Manichaean : the story and morals are complex and debatable. You heart keeps swinging for scene to scene as you learn more. The ending asks a lot of questions.
All in all, when the end credits start rolling, it's a film you want to rewatch, not because you haven't understood, but because you want to understand more, and experience more.
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