Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Movie Review #47: Snowpiercer

Have you ever heard of this movie? I hadn't, until my friend Reid recommended it. As a movie starring Chris Evans and with what looks like a decent budget, I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it before it hit Netflix. But, there it is.

Short review: this bloody (but not really gory) post-apocalyptic action flick is pretty good. It's at times sad, wonderful, surreal, and horrible. Also, I feel like I barely recognize Chris Evans in it.


As a response to global warming, humanity dumped some chemical into the atmosphere to reverse the effects. It proved too effective, though, and the earth entered a devastating ice age that froze the entire world, killing nearly all of the inhabitants. All that remains have been circling the world for over 17 years in a train designed to sustain its passengers indefinitely.

The passengers at the back of the train are oppressed by the passengers in the front, and though there have been rebellions in the past, this time they hope to make it all the way to the engine...


If you take one part Polar Express, one part Winter Soldier, and a pinch of Hunger Games, you might end up with something similar to Snowpiercer. There's the train, traveling through the frozen wastes of the world in an eternal winter, with a class divide so profound as to be almost comical.

That said, Snowpiercer has one of my absolute favorite things: an intelligent, likable villain whose scariest feature is that he may be right. In fact, the movie's villain has carefully calculated a balance in this realm; a balance that takes into account and actively uses political upheavals and classist upsets to maintain that balance rather than strict control--much like the Chaotic Good God of Balance in my D&D campaigns.

In fact, it almost seems like Chris Evans's character might have conceded the point to the villain if it weren't for the whole "secretly enslaving children" thing.

Although the movie always has Chris Evans's stern, determined character at its center, maintaining the movie's focus with a somber note, the events, situations, and visuals around the main character keep the movie from only striking that one note. In between the horror, adrenaline, and somber parts of the movie are bits of wonder, moments of beauty, and a few surprising laughs.

Anyway, the movie is filled with an impressive number of twists and turns for a movie that takes place entirely on a train where they only way to go is forward. If you want to watch a different sort of action movie, I recommend it.

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