As the credits rolled, I felt like I was having déjà vu. I made a point of reading Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, the original graphic novel, and its sequel before going to see Snowpiercer. Like years ago with Cowboys & Aliens, this film is far from an adaptation and besides the basic concept—a train containing the last humans travels through an Ice Age—there is nothing from the comics. However, unlike Cowboys & Aliens, this movie was effing awesome! It didn’t matter the story and characters were all new. Snowpiercer was smart and thrilling from start to finish.
Bong Joon-ho has taken the source material and imagined a twisted yet visually stunning world filling in the details missing from the graphic novel. In an attempt to combat global warming the atmosphere was instead shattered; thankfully, a self sufficient train has been circling the world for 18 years keeping those remaining alive. Of course, the caste system still exists, and Curtis (Chris Evans) leads a revolution from the rear car to the front of the train. Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton—unrecognizable—are the highlights in an all star cast. Despite not knowing much about the characters, I was connected and cared about each character and wanted to learn more. The few backstories explored add to the film’s twists and turns.
The visuals within the film are some of the best and most inventive I have seen. Each car unveils mesmerizing (whether cool or gross) elements; it is hard for your eye to take all of it in and marvel at the close quarters. The action scenes are ridiculous (on the level of The Raid) and embrace the capabilities of the train. One sequence to anticipate is a brawl in a dark car while going through a tunnel as seen through night vision goggles. There is also an awesome sauna scene and something involving crickets! The movie literally looks like it was filmed on some crazy luxury train, which I would definitely take a ride on once I had enough money to be part of the front cars.
Snowpiercer may not have translated much from the graphic novel, disappointing sure, but the film created is mind blowing and the best I have seen in a while. The movie contains every element to be near perfect: action, drama, humor, heart, great cinematography, and a compelling cast. Chris Evans made me forget he has been busy being Captain America, but Evans really excels acting in gritty indie movies (check out Puncture or The Iceman). This movie hinged on a strong lead but is filled with so many memorable characters. I can not say enough awesome things about Snowpiercer.
By Kasey Michael--a lover of all things entertainment. Born and bred in North Carolina, she has a degree in Film Studies and can usually be found in front of a screen.