500 Days Of Film Reviews Snowpiercer, Starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton And Octavia Spencer

A failed climate-change experiment kills all life on earth apart from a few people lucky enough to board the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe. However, as a new class system emerges, some passengers become more fortunate than others.

Is It Any Good?

Unavailable to watch in the UK for years, Snowpiercer gained almost mythic status. A brief look at its pedigree and it is easy to understand why this science fiction thriller / horror fable has attracted a legion of adoring fans.


Based on the French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer was directed by Bong Joon-ho (probably best known for his monster movie, The Host) and features Park Chan-wook among its list of producers.


Meanwhile, the film boasts a truly impressive cast including Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and Octavia Spencer. More than enough reason to make Snowpiercer a journey worth taking.


As a result, when Bong Joon-ho’s film arrived on Netflix, I was very excited to see what all the fuss was about. 



Having now watched Snowpiercer, I am left feeling bemused. Perhaps the film has become a victim of my hopelessly high expectations. I desperately wanted to love it. However

Snowpiercer was, for me at least, a distinctly average movie experience. 


That is not to suggest that I did not enjoy elements of this movie. I loved the train design and the world building is visually stunning. There were many moments when I was left wondering how the story - a screamingly unsubtle allegory of classist society - would unfold.


Meanwhile, I appreciated the film’s tonal shifts from drama to comedy, from action to horror and was reminded of films such as Train To Busan, The Raid and the surreal nature of films from directors such as Yorgos Lanthimos.


However, for me, these elements did not make a satisfactory whole. Despite the obvious abilities of the cast, I did not connect with any of Snowpiercer’s characters on any emotional level. There is far too much exposition and many scenes felt as if the actors could have done with more rehearsal time.  


So, is Snowpiercer a train ride worth taking? Well, I would say yes (you really cannot fault Bong Joon-ho’s ambition). With slightly lowered expectations, there is much to enjoy. However, Snowpiercer is not the sci fi holy grail that its reputation might suggest. 


Random Observations

Have you seen Snowpiercer?


If so, what did you think of this movie. Let me know in the comments section below or over on Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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