English Review – Snowpiercer (2013)


Full of powerful and imaginative imagery, Bong Joon Ho  accomplish pretty much anything on this very effect of irrepressible dystopian social class conflict.

Snowpiercer is undoubtedly an achievement of filmmaking, a strong statement about its director quality. Its richness in Idea and execution are being done rightfully.

Bong Joon Ho is one visionary director while very creative. To bring a post-apocalyptic themed with a very unique premise concept. It’s when the world had emerged a mass chemical extraction into the atmosphere which initially meant to cool down the earth into controllable temperature. It succeeded, but not for long until it went terribly extreme as the earth temperature becomes inhabitable in freeze, back in Ice Age. 17 years since then, the only survivors of the earth are those who are living inside a very long eternal train, that keeps sustaining for years, moving in forever.

That prolog story even sounds unthinkable for me. It’s imaginative and quite challenging. The world inside a train. In a dystopian future! What the hell are you gonna tell then?. Well, it’s Joon Ho, and it’s not anything like him if it’s not about what he loved to do most, a conflict of social class.

It’s Snowpiercer, in which people who suffer are inhibited the very last art of the train. Commonly known as the tail, thousands have been live here in a tight area, get dirty all the time because of no water access. They have to go with a protein block tastes like shit as their food every day. Like rats in sewer, they are presentation of lowest life, the powerless remnants.

There’s no one could bear to live like that forever, of course. And they need a leader that has the most of courage. Curtis (Chris Evans) is portrayed as a savior wannabe, a pre-leader that can ignite the spirit of revelation. He thinks, and he has a plan. In one of very moment when it could be the time. Curtis has led the rebellion to push forward. They need to pass each of the next carriages. The destination is one and clear, the front engine.

And we pretty much get what Joon Ho is trying to say on every carriage by carriage. It unfolds another mystery, and it exposes another surprising material. It impresses; the gate breaching does impress, the axe war does impress, the happy new year does impress, the fire torch does impress, the window shooting does impress. And ultimately, the most admirable from the film, is the unpredictable interior design of each carriage when we starting to go further forward. It’s cult-like whilst it defines the world Joon Ho is creating inside the train. Joon Ho shows that the train is the whole new imitative world, covering everything from the grossest place to the gorgeous one. The poor to the elite rich.

After some great rebellion progress, and great price of which it’s demand, I personally rather confused and can’t let myself succumb on that very philosophical grand finale, when we finally get a look of the Wilford, a mysterious man who invent all the powers inside the train. I can’t catch the message; I can’t feel why people on the screen feel very drowned in situation. This is a kind of grand finale that let me down, to be honest.

And as I entitled to my opinion for its ending, I also admire Snowpiercer in the way it unravels the self-corruption among characters. I would like to say that I’m endear how even Curtis is also that vulnerable. How he isn’t that ideal; his temperament, some of choices he makes, and especially his past. Oh my God, do you feel the chill on that scene when Curtis told his past to Yona!?.

Overall, I still like the film, for its montage gory and pricey journey and how it turns out ironically pointless (not the movie, but the rebellion hustle). And even though I don’t get that grand finale, at least I get what Bong Joon Ho meant by that strong very last frame of the film.