Monday 31 March 2014

Snowpiercer [2013]

Snowpiercer, gifted Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s adaptation of a French graphic novel and his English-language debut, is a dystopian and futuristic sci-fi thrillers. With the world made inhabitable due to freezing temperatures, the last surviving members of the human race have become passengers in a train driven by a perpetual engine. The elaborately designed train, which is a closed ecosystem, provided a stark but over-emphasized metaphor for society’s class system where the rich enjoy at the cost of the poor. Thus, as can be expected, the rich wants to ensure continuance of the status quo while the poor wants to challenge it, with use of violence being a necessary tool for both the sides. Despite the massive odds placed before him, Curtis (Chris Evans) isn’t deterred from sparking the latest armed revolt to take control of the train and reverse the scenario for residents of the rear section who are forever at the receiving end of oppression, injustice and punishments. It also stars John Hurt as a wise but old and crippled leader of the Tail Section, Tilda Swinton as the grotesque enforcer for the Front Section, Song Kang-ho as the man who’d designed the train’s lock system, and Ed Harris as the leader of the Front Section. The train’s interiors were marvelously designed, with the grimy, grungy and claustrophobic art décor of the tail section providing for striking visual juxtaposition to the front section. The fast-moving script, except for the rather stretched climax, ingenuity of plot and nicely choreographed action sequences, added to the thrills. However, this would possibly rank as Bong’s weakest work so far, with the plot-holes, ludicrosity of proceedings, and lack of characterizations restricting it to just a muscular genre exercise.

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Genre: Thriller/Sci-Fi Thriller
Language: English/Korean
Country: South Korea


Sam Juliano said...

Until that final damning disclaimer in the last two sentences Shubhajit, this was as celebratory a review as one could hope to read. Still, in this grand and superbly written assessment you make a number of compelling arguments to see this long-awaited film, which opens here in June. Can't wait.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Well, it most certainly was an interesting watch - for its ingenious concept, evocation of the interiors & some good moments. However, I also do found this to be Bong's weakest work so far. I'd be interested to read your take on the film.