Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob & Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer is an intriguing, compelling, thought-provoking and intense South Korean sci-fi action drama thriller with credible English-speaking casts: Chris Evans (Captain America), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), John Hurt (V for Vendetta), Tilda Swinton (Narnia), Ed Harris (The Truman Show) and so on.
The film sets in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world where a global-warming solution has gone horribly wrong, plunging the world into another ice age, killing off most life on the planet. The only survivors are left endlessly travelling around the globe in a super-train powered by a perpetual-motion engine that never stops. Over time, a class system was formed with the elites inhabiting the front of the train and poor inhabiting the back of the train. A revolution starts to happen with an attempt to seize control of the engine.
The film succeeds on so many levels: the attention to characters, fantastic world-building concepts, stunning visuals, good pacing, avoidance of melodrama (normally found in many Korean films), the unexpected turn of events and a surprising twist near the end of the film. Above all, this film highly respects the audience’s intelligence by allowing them to sit and follow through the 'presentation' while leaving some meaningful 'breadcrumbs' along the way for the audience to 'pick' up, instead of delivering everything on a silver platter.
As the film progresses, it carefully examines the social class system formed in the train, from the most basic labour working class, right up to the elite, in perfect order. As the revolution starts from the back end to the front end of the train, each successive train carriage reveals a shocking aspect of this grotesque, self-sustaining socio-economic system...We get to see the evolution of civilisation from simple beginnings to science, education, quality of living, luxury, then hedonism, extravagance and eventual demise, in an exact order. It reflects the various aspects of our current society from within, providing great insights about the nature of humanity throughout the film. Moreover, Snowpiercer is filled with stylistic gritty violence...the brutality of the elites against the low-class commoners are shown vividly in the film.
This film is definitely better than many of the similar-themed films like Elysium or In Time, in terms of plot, script, pacing and cinematography. I would highly recommend anyone to watch it.
Due to unknown reasons, this film only available in TGV cinemas, not GSC in Malaysia and this film is not released in the US yet.