October 20, 2014 by rachelcmann
Let me start by saying something that has been sticking in my craw about the publicity around this movie. Just because something is post-apocalyptic does not make it sci-fi. Near-future fiction? Sure. Dystopian fiction? Absolutely. But not sci-fi in my humble opinion. So anyway!
Snowpiercer generated a lot of buzz around its “sci-fi” plot, unusual casting choices and simultaneous VOD release with a limited theatrical release. I was curious (obviously) and so watched it at home.
The basic story is as follows – human kind accidentally wipes itself out and the few survivors are on an endless train loop around North America. The train is the only thing keeping people alive, however, I guess some extra people jumped on the train and screwed up the planned ecosystem (or something) and those people are packed into the rear cars of the train and treated very, very poorly. Chris Evans has decided to lead a revolution to take over the train. Several violent and very bloody train car massacres later, he takes an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton hostage to continue their forward movement (end goal being the train engine at the front). More violence, more weirdly single use train cars. Eventually he and a couple of his cohorts get to the front. Some exposition happens and then the dramatic ending! (no spoilers)
I had some not-insignificant issues with story continuity and general “wait, what happened to [blank]” moments but the overall film was compelling. There is no trace of the smarmy joke cracking Evans we are accustomed to in literally every other movie he is in and that’s refreshing. As I said, Swinton is unrecognizable and yet perfection as always. There are definitely some surprises, suspense and some wtf? moments, which are all good things in my book.
All of that said, it’s not something I’m likely to re-watch or even really recommend to someone else unless I know they like this sort of thing. It’s incredibly violent which I wasn’t expecting and the ending was unsatisfactory for me. If you like movies like Riddick or Resident Evil you will probably enjoy this, but if your sci-fi tastes drift more towards Star Trek and Firefly you might want to skip it.