The trailer intrigued. I would have seen this in theaters but due to some production squabbling, Snowpiercer debuted in few cinemas across the country. God Bless Netflix.
First, Chris Evans. The guy could not act to save his life, or at least that’s how it seemed to me, but Evans made do with his second chance, starring as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, an above-average film primarily due to Evans description of the red, white, and blue hero. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was also a huge box office success and confirmed that the Captain can hold his own in a fight.
Snowpiercer proves to be yet another platform for Evans to demonstrate his acting prowess, this time with Curtis, a man in a future society bound on a metal train. Curtis is one of the under-privileged, stuck in the back of the train with the mass populace while the others live the luxurious life afforded to them at the middle and front parts of the life-saving locomotive.
This setting alone is great. In a world at the brisk of human extinction, people are still finding ways to place themselves above others as if they are superior to other people of their own kind. While not economically feasible, socialism is the moral avenue to take. Considering the circumstances of their situation, you would think the need for an economic system let alone the need for social classes would be unnecessary, but you would be wrong. It is human nature that allows for human degrading. I used to refuse to believe this, but after repeated interactions with such people, it has become apparent to me: people just aren’t very nice. That’s not to say I’ve lost faith in humanity. People have the potential for great things and that’s what keeps me going. You never know when you’re going to run into someone who passes the buck.
So this futuristic train setting, while leaving many unanswered questions, not only works, but excels. A modest budget at $39.2 million also correlates well to this film’s lack of scenery changes, yet the environment never feels boring because you never know what’s going to be behind the next gate. Following each gate is the next car, and you never know who and/or what is going to be behind it. There is some anticipation with this South Korean flick though I’m unsure if I’d go so far as to say suspense.
In terms of character writing, the levels are limited. Aside from the idea of class warfare and the figureheads that would partake in such an event, there aren’t any glaring qualities or traits that reside past the film’s conclusion. That’s not to say the acting is poor in form or execution. An overall thumbs-up display for sure, especially from Chris Evans, one of the new generation’s best actors and one of my new favorites.
Another thing that I liked about this film was that you couldn’t tell it was Korean. When you watch a film and you can tell it’s foreign, very rarely is that a good thing because foreign films just cannot match up to the U.S. market. We’ve got too much money and too much talent to compete with.
The United States exports, in order (in my opinion), are weapons, debt to China, U.S. military personnel, natural resources, machinery and vehicles, and movies.
So when something as profitable as U.S. films are happening on a regular basis, you notice when it’s not the high-caliber product you’re used to paying for. It’s a little like Heinz ketchup. If you buy a bottle that says Heinz ketchup on the front, you’ll know if it doesn’t taste right. Or at least I will, because I’m from Pittsburgh, the city of Heinz headquarters.
However, I couldn’t tell and would have never known of Snowpiercer‘s origins had it not been for all of my fellow bloggers’ reviews. The philosophy was there as was the brutal violence that accompanies it. The characters were a little more uniform than I would have liked but it didn’t get in the way of the film’s entertainment or story arc. It was an overall creative piece.
It was the film’s finale that disappointed. After a dramatic and well-done monologue that encompassed the film as a whole, the screenwriters went overboard with their material, adding too many twists and character reveals to make it believable. It left a sour note to an otherwise well-done piece.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the Woods, Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Young Guns)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Zoolander, The Expendables 3, Homefront, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Vantage Point)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Billy Madison, A Haunted House, 300: Rise of an Empire, Cowboys and Aliens)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Centurion, Planet of the Apes, Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Gallowwalkers, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Safe, Watchmen, Clash of the Titans)
My score for Snowpiercer: 79.
A solid contribution from Chris Evans once again, Snowpiercer’s sets and societal conclusions make the film a worthwhile experience and while the final third was very aggravating, it only brought this from an 82 to a 79. That isn’t a large drop, which is a testament to Snowpiercer‘s success at its earlier stages.