Federico Fellini once said all that is needed to make a great film is snow and a train. But I don’t think he had something likeSnowpiercer in mind; applying that philosophy to this film is kind of cheating, isn’t it?
A science-fiction film with a lot of forced relevance, and over-simplified commentary on the modern day class system,Snowpiercer, I’m sure, plays much more like Elysium than the director intended. Aside from a fantastic performance by Tilda Swinton, as a gatekeeper between the tail end of a speeding train (poor people) and its engine (rich people), this film about a global warming catastrophe which has brought about the extinction of all life on Earth, save for the individuals who happened to board an entrepreneur’s self-sustaining express train that has been making circles around the planet for eighteen years, is buried beneath mountains of cliches and the usual, run-of-the-mill, post-apocalyptic nonsense.
Chris Evans plays a man living in the tail section fed up with the inequality among the survivors, who decides to stage a coup to reach the front of the train and take what should rightfully belong to everyone else. Unfortunately for all his huffing and puffing, and director Bong Joon-ho’s social commentary,Snowpiercer is never able to rise above the notion that it would have made a much better side-scrolling video game, complete with requisite stage bosses, and an ample amount of cut scenes that provide endless melodrama and contrived emotional exposition. Much like its own ninety-nine percentersSnowpiercer is one of a million such films that attempt greater significance but wallow in tedium and obviousness. From one scene to the next it makes very little sense, and its ultimate conclusion should have been apparent to any adult character in the film who made it beyond the sixth grade before the world froze over.
The Verdict: Pan