Snowpiercer – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

snowpiercerSnowpiercer – 4/5 – Indie flicks; films that most people don’t even watch.  The reason that these kinds of films don’t get a lot of audiences is because of one of two things; lack of marketing and not enough theater openings.  Even so, whenever an indie flick does make an appearance, I will always take my time to go watch them.  Good or bad; Indie films are some of my favorites to watch.  This is because (no matter the story) there is an always good layer of depth that develops grounding the film.   Snowpiercer is no exception.  A film based around a premise of an ‘apocalyptic’ scenario; it is one that shows that there is more to human dignity then what seems to be not.  A film that starts slow but eventually gets to a lot of good twist and turns, Snowpiercer is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Premise: In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off all life, a lucky few are saved by the train, Snowpiercer.  As everything begins to unravel for the tail end of the train, Curtis leads a revolution that will set in motions truths about the purpose of the train, and the purpose of his own life.

In the starring role as Curtis is Chris Evans.  Known mostly for his portrayal as Captain America, Evans does a great job in this ‘out of the box’ scenario of a man leading a revolution.  There is a lot of grit to this character, which Evans helps draw out through great dialogue and raw emotions.  There are a lot of layers to Curtis, as you see he is someone with the willingness to do whatever it takes to help his people have a better life on this train.  As the movie progresses, you watch as he goes from disciple to leader, where poignant moments makes him show true merit.  Outside of him, you have some notable names:

Ed Harris as Wilford

John Hurt as Gilliam

Tilda Swinton as Mason

Jamie Bell as Edgar

Octavia Spencer as Tanya

Alison Pill as the Teacher

There are some newcomers (Luke Pasqualino as Grey and Kang-ho Song as Mangoong Minsoo) that have good roles in this film.  These two, plus the rest mention above help provided enough depth and flavor to the film, creating a deeper aspect to the story. There are two standouts of the group; Ed Harris and John Hurt.  Ed Harris is the main ‘antagonist’ as Wilford, who is the captain of this train.  He is an intelligent man, one that you will gravity to with his ideals.  This helps break the mold of a typical villain, helping provide some questions and twists to the whole reason for Curtis to take him out. John Hurt provides the ‘old wise’ shtick as Gilliam.  Even though his character comes off as a typical ‘mentor role’, the dialogue between him and Curtis is very moving.  The conversations he has helps provide a grip to the tale and purpose of the quest.

The direction of the film has a very stark focus; built upon the cliché of a typical ‘revolt’ leading to some kind of ‘revolution’ for the ‘down and out’ people.  What makes this film stand out and grow into a greater thriller is the script.  The premise and focal point of being on a train is what provides a more analytical perspective then any kind of a traditional ‘quest for freedom’ you find in most films.  The first half is built off this traditional ‘revolution’ setting, with a twist.  The world has fallen into a deep frozen state, which has wiped out most of humanity.  The one’s that have survived have boarded a train called the Snowpiercer.  Being saved has not developed into a good situation for Curtis and the tail end of the train.  Because of this, Curtis devises a plan for the tail end group to take over the train and lead a revolt to the front, where Curtis will take out Wilford.  From here, you get a lot of good interaction between Curtis and the rest of the cast, where the dialogue is precise and the moments feel gripping enough for a traditional setup.  You see how the ‘lives’ of these people are reflective of a ‘caste’ system, where the rich live in luxury and the poor live in terrible situations.  As the revolt is set in motion, you begin to see how each cabin of the train functions.  Each train has ‘specifics’; and those specifics are built on an ‘eco-system’ implemented by Wilford.  As the film moves along, the actions and intensity begin to build, as you become ‘suspicious’ of everything going on, paralleling Curtis’s own intuition.  As the revolt continues, the film begins to change its tone from a traditional action set piece to a more thought provoking thriller. It happens at a specific moment in the second half of this film where, Curtis is faced with a decision.  This decision hinges on the aspect of a single life and human brevity.  Here, you witness the ‘cliché’ aspect of the film fall to the wayside, and the films purpose and thrilling aspect exude out.  From here (as mentioned earlier) the film pushes towards a great psychological thriller.  The film starts to layer itself through a mixture of purpose, life and humanities own chaotic appeal.  You witness this through the cinematic aura of each cabin of this long train, the characters and the wonderfully twisted but intelligent script.  As the film develops its psychological aspect, you see Curtis start to exude what may seem is not truth, and he begins to develop strong skin and become the leader he was ‘born’ to be.  Once we head into the third act, Curtis is getting closer to his goal.  At the same time, you watch as the goal wrecks his heart, as the sacrifices to get there might be a harder burden to bear.  Even so, once he confronts Wilford, twists and turns begin to unravel for the whole ‘revolution’ that Curtis has lead.  As truths begin to disperse, that seem all the while purposeful, are not something Curtis once to hear.   As the film hits its climax, it’s a great mixture of thrills, calamity, choices and what defines ‘human’.  Once the film ends, the epilogue is something built upon that idea of being ‘human’, which is shown greatly through scenic shot of a polar bear.

The cinematography is something built upon the aesthetic appeal of irony.  The aspect of each cabin is so diverse and shocking, that you never really know what to expect from as Curtis and crew move from section to section.  From the creation of the dismal tail end to the aspects of the ‘luxurious’ front ends, there is a good contrast to help build upon the themes and ideas of the film.  The score isn’t something to clamor about, but it is worth noting that the music plays a part in the film.

Snowpiercer is an indie flick that will blow you away, even if it takes a subtle approach to its themes.  Chris Evans is great as Curtis, and the thrilling aspects of the film will keep you guessing till the end.  If you’re looking for a great film to see this summer, one that is grounded but helps add a ‘blockbuster’ appeal, this is one for you.  You will not be disappointed if you get a chance to watch this film.

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