Snowpiercer written by Joon-ho Bong and Kelly Masterson, directed by Joon-ho Bong (SnowPiercer, Moho Film, Opus Pictures, R, 126 min) Starring Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, and Ah-sung Ko.
What is justice? What gives you reason to take up arms in opposition? Is there ever a moral ground for violence? Certainly, anybody can carry a deep burden of justification. Some would say this question is a zero-sum game. How do we, ultimately, whittle justice down to a point where we all can participate in a life well lived? Many of these questions come to the surface in Joon-ho Bong’s futuristic thriller, Snowpiercer.
The Death of All
Snowpiercer depicts a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In 2014, scientists conduct an experiment hoping to neutralize the threat of Global Warning. Instead, the work results in a new ice age that kills almost everything on earth. The remnant survive on perpetual-motion train that spans the globe on a connected track. This train is the brain-child of innovator and engineer, Wilford (Ed Harris). Over the course of the 17 years the train has been moving, a class system emerges between the first-class compartments and the tail section of mostly freeloaders. Outside of a few unsuccessful rebellions, the tail inhabitants have little connection with the rest of the train, save for the small-but-consistent times when guards deliver protein blocks, take roll, and acquire a few small children to bring to the front of the train. But the times are changing. Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) and his friend, Edgar (Jamie Bell), set plans for a new rebellion. With the wisdom of Curtis’ mentor, Gilliam (John Hurt), Curtis and Edgar focus their sights on the front of the train. At the most opportune time, Curtis begins the offensive, fighting forward from car to car seeking just realignment. Will Curtis and his tail-section companions re-balance the social system, or is something more sinister afoot?
Rough Around the Edges
Despite an intriguing premise, Snowpiercer lacks some execution. While the narratives differ, Snowpiercer feels similar to Equilibrium, an ambitious film that’s a little rough around the edges. The story requires a high level of thought about society and the requirements of justice. Does violence provide an answer to injustice? Or is it further injustice? Even with its inconsistencies, Snowpiercer is worth a watch, especially if you enjoy a little bit of action mixed with thematic depth. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Affiliate Links: Amazon