Thursday, May 1, 2014
A High-Octane Sci-Fi Flick That 'Pierces' Like Fire Rather Than 'Snow'
As I pointed out in my review of The Purge, we rarely see post-apocalyptic or futuristic films that deal with situations that are quite plausible. Snowpiercer not only deals with a real-life situation that is said to threaten this planet, but successfully weaves it in to a futuristic science fiction story.
Snowpiercer is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth where nearly all life is extinct because of a failed global warming experiment. Those that survived are held up on a train and each cabin is segregated based on a class system, with the rich in the front and the poor in the caboose. Many of the poor survivors, led by Curtis (Chris Evans), decide to revolt and take control of the train by going from the tail to the front of the train.
What I Liked About It:
As I said, I like how the film manages to take a real-life situation, that is global warming, and weave it into a futuristic story. The concept of those surviving a global warming disaster being held up together on an always moving train and being segregated based on a class system is an interesting idea. I also liked the different set and costume designs. The characters that are poor are dressed in raggy clothes and live in a more beat-up looking section of the train while the more affluent characters dress in much more colorful and presentable attire. That shows that when you have money in this world, you are living the high life, but if you are poor, you are lucky enough to have a place to sleep, a coat to wear and a single protein bar to eat. Interestingly, as the poor get closer to the front of the train and they encounter more affluent passengers, the real distinction is shown between the rich and poor in terms of their lifestyle and how they present themselves. Their is even a special twist at the end which was rather inventive, which I don't want to give away because I think this should be widely seen even if it probably won't because it doesn't come out until next month and I was lucky enough to catch it online.
Another thing I really liked was the action scenes. I liked how the action sequences weren't too overblown and some of them were done with such flare. One of them involves a bunch of henchmen fighting off the main characters in night vision and the main characters fighting back with torches and other weapons. I also thought the actors were spectacular and really made me invested in their characters. Chris Evans really shines as the film's rather conflicted hero and doesn't try to glamorize the character like what a more famous star would probably do. One actress that I also really thought shines is Ms. Tilda Swinton who plays one of the film's antagonists named Minister Mason. Swinton just really excels as the kind of villain you just love to hate and seemed like she was really having fun in the role. Some of the other actors in the film include Ed Harris, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, and Alison Pill. All of them do a splendid job in their respective roles.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Snowpiercer is a highly inventive gem of a futuristic sci-fi film that thrills yet makes the viewer think. As I said, this more than likely won't get that wide of a release, but if it plays at a theater near you, I would say give it a watch. You might be in for a genuine surprise.