Snowpiercer Review: Let It Go, Can't Hold It Back Anymore

Chad White, Buttpiercer, Chris Evans’ Understudy

Snowpiercer is the comic book movie you’ve always wanted. It’s more gritty, more destructive and more dark than any film in its genre. Seriously, try and find a comic book movie that throws you in without pandering to a largely clueless audience. The film derives from Le Transperceneige, a French graphic novel published in 1982. As hard as that name is to type, the story is about the same. Snowpiercer takes place in 2031 on a frozen Earth after a failed science experiment to combat global warming goes horribly wrong. Seventeen years have gone by and now, the world’s remaining civilization lives aboard a train. Said train travels around the world, with a circulation taking about one year. It is split into two distinct areas: the rich and powerful up front and the poor and weak in the back.

Fantastic Four’s Chris Evans plays Curtis Everett, a man that lives in the back of the train along with dozens of other poor people. After years of dealing with the wealthy people’s attitudes, he and his group decide to fight back. The beginning of the movie is interesting because the audience is introduced to the world mid plan. Aside from Evans, who does a fantastic job, other characters include Octavia Spencer, John Hurt and a nearly unrecognizable Tilda Swinton. The only problem with Everett is that he will do anything to gain control over the front of the train. At points, he leaves his friends or straight up betrays them by not revealing important facets (like what protein block are made of). He’s not a nice guy but he has a mission to carry out.

Characters are given black and grey clothing to match the interior parts of the train. However, rich characters wear brighter clothing and characters that hold some sort of power wear yellow (wealth) or blue (military officers). From a thematic standpoint, the yellow shows bright dominance over the dreary, unimaginative black and grey. Tilda Swinton’s Mason wears both to show her wealth as well as lord her level of security over the less fortunate people in the back of the train.

An interesting thing to note about the characters in the movie is that we are given the barebones of what is needed for the story. Spencer is a mother who wants to keep her son safe; Hurt is a mentor to Evans; Swinton is a powerful socialite/militaristic woman. There are no unnecessary details to bog down the story. Things are kept a nice pace save for the few slow scenes that serve to tell backstory. But things ramp up nicely to a fitting end that serves to open our minds.

Snowpiercer works because there are no flashbacks, no drawn out expositional areas, and no disassociation from characters. We are given just enough to make the world believable. The film is dark and depressing, appropriately so, whereas movies based on Iron Man and Batman have to hand hold you. It takes guts for a movie to freeze a man’s arm and smash it right in front of its heroes. Things get even more grim when topics like brainwashing children or cannibalism come up.

Should you watch Snowpiercer?

I cannot stress this enough: yes. If you want a no holds barred (not Hulk Hogan) comic book movie, then this is the one you’ve been waiting for. But don’t expect to get it right away. It’s hard to get into lore if the filmmakers just expect you to go with it. That is, however, the gist of things. Just go along with whatever you see in this movie.