While everyone is hyping up Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (no judgement there, I’m doing it too), I wanted to talk about another one of the director’s brilliant films this week: Snowpiercer.
Set in 2031 after an experiment freezes the entire world, the only survivors are to be found on board of a train that travels the world non-stop: Snowpiercer. Curtis (Chris Evans), a “resident” of the lower-class cars at the tail of the train, decides to organize a revolt and take down the man at the front.
Without further ado, here at 10 reasons which make Good Donut wholeheartedly recommend this movie. Some spoilers ahead:
1. Similar to Parasite when it comes to themes, Snowpiercer also explores the topic of class, but does so in a more obvious way in my opinion. The divide is way clearer, as groups of people are “neatly” organized into different train cars we see as Curtis and his team move through the train. Not only that, but the appearances of the classes are heightened here: the tail residents are dirty, starving, and made to look like unruly savages, while the further up you go inside the train, the more luxurious, clean, and fancy it all looks.
2. From that, here’s another fascinating comparison: in Parasite, there is a subtly beautiful visual metaphor in class position: the poor family lives halfway underground, the rich on top of a hill. The poor family keeps moving downstairs while the rich one is show climbing stairs throughout the movie. In Snowpiercer, the movement isn’t vertical, but horizontal. As the outside world’s been frozen and all there is left is a train, there shouldn’t be as much of a divide as there is. And yet this social construct is still not destroyed. As the train moves around the globe continuously, in a 17-year old loop, the hierarchy must move along with it. I feel like Snowpiercer gives the viewer a tinge bit more satisfaction on this front with its end, as the train is destroyed and the only survivors are a child and Yona, a member of the lower-class car – the most resilient members of society, the young, strong ones.
3. The visuals, as always, are stunning. The further along we move inside the train, the more colorful everything gets. This only contributes to the story’s idea further.
4. The cast is wonderful. Tilda Swinton nails her villainous role and steals the spotlight whenever she’s in a scene as the kooky Mason, John Hurt’s character Gilliam is a fascinating enigma all the way to the end, and Ed Harris portrays the train’s big boss Wilford as a complex bad guy. Octavia Spencer is always a joy to watch, and especially in her moments of badassery, Jamie Bell and Luke Pasqualino will definitely snatch your heart, and despite him being most known as Captain America, Chris Evans will definitely surprise you with the depth he’s given Curtis. If you need more Song Kang-ho after seeing him in Parasite, worry not because he’s in this too. Also Ko Ah-sung is brilliant as Yona.
5. Speaking of Curtis, it’s always refreshing to see the hero-type of character be given flaws. What Curtis has done to survive in the train, what he was and what he became, are an outlier of this heroic trope, although more reminiscent of what a real person would go through. The fact that his morals aren’t black or white, or any of the characters’ for that matter, gives this movie a rawness and realness it needs to be relevant in today’s society despite being set in a dystopian future.
6. From finding out what’s really in the food bars and discovering Minsoo and his daughter, to learning of Curtis’ past, the movie packs some really amazing twists and revelations. Like the characters, nothing is as clear as black and white, the intentions of the revolution aren’t what we thought they were, and the villain’s motivation isn’t what we think it is. What happens to the missing children is a horrifying reminder of our society, although again, the idea is heightened in this movie.
7. While the setting might feel limiting (how much stuff can possibly happen on a train?), the extent of how broad you can go with the storytelling within the train is incredible. Every section nurtures its own style, life, lessons, driving points for the story. Journeying through the train along with Curtis and his team is just thrill after thrill.
8. The classroom section is honestly so telling of our world, past and present. Amazing scene.
9. It's Bong Joon-ho so it's guaranteed quality.
10. I’ve watched it about 3 times and would like to watch it again, so trust me when I say, seeing this movie is time well spent.
If your interest is piqued, do go and give it a watch. Given it’s winter, it’ll make for an even nicer watch, don’t you think? And if you’ve seen it already and want to talk about it, the Contact option is always open, and GD is always around on social media.
Thank you, as always, for your time!