Saturday, January 17, 2015

Imaginos Movie Review: "Snowpiercer"

Though the movie came out in 2013, I only just recently got the chance to partake of the film "Snowpiercer." I'm not normally the type of person to just buy a movie without having seen it first, but honestly, hearing the plot of the movie and the way so many of my friends spoke so highly of it (and these are opinions that I actually trust, mind you), I took the leap and bought it. And now, after having finally seen it, I don't regret the purchase in the slightest.  :)

"Snowpiercer," despite its majority English-speaking and American cast, is actually a Korean Science-Fiction film that is actually based on the French graphic novel series "Le Transperceneige." Now, based on that kind of lineage, you can imagine that the film either diverts heavily from American cinema sensibilities or ends up heavily catering to American sensibilities due to other nation's public perception of viewing films more highly as an art form. In this case, if you bet on the latter, then you'd actually lose.

For those that haven't heard of it, the film takes place in a future where the planet has frozen over due to a failed attempt to offset global warming, and an eccentric industrialist's fantasy project of a globe-spanning train system becomes humanity's only hope of avoiding extinction. The last remnants of humanity have been living on the train "Snowpiercer" for over 17 years and the story focuses on a specific event in the lives of the survivors in the rear of the train as they suffer the eventuality of an oppressive class system.

The most interesting part about the movie is that rather than focusing on creating a wide and varied view of life on the train, it actually keeps its focus purely on the group at the back and allows you to discover the real "diversity" of life on the train along with them. With a surprising cast with names like Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris, the characters aboard the train range drastically and aren't as clear cut as you might expect as life on the train has had surprising effects on them all. And its non-blockbuster approach to telling this story truly sets it apart from other post-apocalyptic/disaster films.

The only unfortunate part of this movie is that it did so poorly in the box office. This might be due to the fact that it's not your traditional sci-fi movie, like I've previously mentioned. So if you're interested in an incredible film that bucks a significant number of traditional tropes in American cinema and thus produces a movie that is easily set to be a cult classic for movie loving audiences, check out "Snowpiercer"!

-Joe Cain

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