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“Snowpiercer” – Review (POSITIVE)

July 16, 2014

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 11.44.28 AMWith a summer ridden with clichéd blockbuster nonsense (“Transformers 4”), or epic films that try too hard to deliver a thought provoking message  (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), it’s refreshing to see a film having the stability to give the viewer both in a well-balanced method, without having to spoon feed everything to the audience.

Joon-ho Bong’s long awaited hard-nosed sci-fi tale, “Snowpiercer” has finally made it’s way state side, after a long debated final edit battle between Bong and the brothers Weinstein of TWC. In it’s complete uncut self, “Snowpiercer” is slowly garnering the attention it rightfully deserves with the intense positive word of mouth about the film.

Art houses and VOD viewings have continued to grow and grow after the weeks of its June 27th release date. If it’s not playing in your local theater, you may have to suck it up and go the VOD route, as much as it pains me to suggest it. Sadly I’ve yet to see this movie on the big screen, the experience is without question a lot more gratifying than watching it on your TV (or in my case Laptop).

Set in a desolate future, where global warming has completely won the war of humanities right to coexist on Earths soil, a global train broken up into different sections based on society classes roams the barren wasteland that was once our flourishing planet. The tail end of the train houses the pond scum of society, while the front houses the privileged. A new revolution is about to start, led by Curtis (Chris Evans), a man who sees himself not as a leader, but a brute tool to plow the way for the real leader; Gilliam (John Hurt).

Curtis enlists the help of a prisoned security mechanic, Namgoog Minsoo (Kang-ho Song), to help the band of misfits open every gate in each boxcar, so they can make their way to the engine room. Whoever controls the engine room, will control all of humanity once again. Though the trek is easier said than done, with every revolution comes at a bloody price.

Joon-ho Bong makes his English language debut, coming off such brilliant cult hits as “Mother” & “The Host”, here he adapts the French graphic novel in the purest form of grit and unapologetic violence. Sure, a movie like this could have been produced in a traditional American manner, but Bong knows how to balance style with substance. With every bat-shit crazy action scene comes at a price with realistic drama.

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 11.44.38 AMOne of the best scenes in the movie isn’t an action, though the dark axe fight scene is quite breathtaking, no, the best part comes near the end with Chris Evans pleading Song’s Namgoog to open the final gate. I won’t give anything away, but it comes at moment where a final surprise in character development of Evans Curtis will leave just about any viewer of the film heartbroken. It’s those kinds of scenes of drama that’s missing in blockbuster action movie, granted “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has some like that, but they were tad overbearing than real.

What separates movies like “Snowpiercer” and “Dawn” is the fact that “Snowpiercer” features characters you can empathize with on both ends of the spectrum; the weak vs. the strong. In my opinion “Snowpiercer” should be the top dog sci-fi epic of the summer.

GRADE: A

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