Story by: Dean Crawford, Photos by:
Sci-fi / Action
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
With “Roaring Currents” becoming the most successful film in Korean history, I wanted a good companion piece for this month’s review section. The film I’ve been saving for the occasion is Bong Joon-ho’s instant classic, “Snowpiercer” (2013).
Set aboard a self-sustaining, never-ending train that holds what’s left of the Earth’s population after a global warming experiment gone wrong, those at the front of the train live in luxury while those in the back live in squalor. Curtis (Chris Evans) leads a rebellion to demand better conditions from the train’s mysterious creator, Wilfred.
“Snowpiercer” isn’t just one of the best Korean films I saw last year, but one of the best films I saw, period. What makes it so special is that, despite the premise, it feels so real, with social disparity being in the news more than ever, along with uprisings and police brutality. Whether we realize it or not, looking at “Snowpiercer” is like looking at ourselves, and that’s the skill that Bong Joon-ho possesses as a master director.
“Snowpiercer” also contains one of the best action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. The battle for the water tank is tense, violent and brutal, yet humorous at the same time. It would have been so easy to over- or underplay the scene, but the balance is perfect.
The most surprising aspect about the film was the performance by Chris Evans. He is fantastic as Curtis and the depth of emotion he manages to display in what could easily have been written off as a simple action film is impressive. Those who don’t rate him highly as an actor need to take a look at one of the monologues he delivers to his costar; framed in a close-up that leaves Evans with nowhere to hide, it’s emotional and compelling stuff.
With “Snowpiercer” finally getting a full North American release, I certainly hope it gains traction with audiences abroad and is a reminder to anyone who hasn’t seen the film to please go out and do so.