Director Bong Joon-ho has had his name in the media an awful lot recently. Parasite, a film which the South Korean filmmaker directed, produced, and wrote, won Best Picture at the latest Academy Awards ceremony. Movie lovers everywhere have been praising the film for its enlightening take on income inequality. And while it’s a pretty intriguing, thrilling film, is it really Bong Joon-ho’s best? His 2013 film Snowpiercer would like to join the conversation. So, in considering just how much Bong Joon-ho has risen to worldwide recognition, we’re going to take a look in the past with a retro review of Snowpiercer.
Snowpiercer Retro Review – A Unique Graphic Novel Adaptation
Think of a graphic novel that’s adapted into a film. There’s a good chance that you’re thinking about a superhero movie. And while these are easily the most well-known adaptations, there’s plenty of others out there, from quirky TV dramas to films like Snowpiercer. The film was based on Le Transperceneige, a 1982 French graphic novel by Jacques Lob. Following the release of the film, Titan Comics released an English translation.
The story of Snowpiercer brings some pretty common themes and raises them to the next level. We all know how daunting of a risk that global warming is. Well, in the world of this film, a man named Wilford created something that would get the world through a climate engineering catastrophe. The only humans left in the world are those who chose to board his circumnavigational train, and it’s been running around the world for well over a decade. But, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as any old train ride. Snowpiercer takes all of the dystopian movies out there and asks you what would happen if everyone was forced into one confined space.
Image via RADiUS-TWC.
A Film Of Action, Class Segregation, And Desperation
You’re probably aware that most transit systems split up sections by ticket price. So, naturally, first class is often filled with more wealthy citizens, and economy class isn’t. The same thing happened on Wilford’s train. As the front started to realize that they have pretty much every ounce of remaining power in the world, they get to use this to their advantage. The front carts are filled with extravagant food and lifestyle experiences. Meanwhile, the tail compartments are filled with dozens of folks with inappropriate living quarters and some heinous meals. They’re ready for change, and they’ve got Captain America to help.
Chris Evans (a.k.a. Captain America) plays Curtis Everett. He’s got some pretty clear ideas on how life in the train should change and begins a revolution against those in the higher train cars. He, along with his good pal Edgar (Jamie Bell), encourages the rest of the folks living in the tail compartments to fight back against the armed guards. Once they take them down, there’s little left standing in the way between them and Wilford (Ed Harris), aside from a very passionate Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton), Wilford’s spokesperson.
Image via RADiUS-TWC.
Is Snowpiercer Worth A Watch?
This film pulls from plenty of different interests. If you’re up for some good old action, it’s the movie for you. If you love science fiction, then you’ll probably like it. Do you like dystopian movies? Perfect! You’ll love Snowpiercer. What the movie does that’s different than Bong Joon-ho’s other films is that the topics of class inequality aren’t the main focus, but they still get enough spotlight to remind you who the bad guy is. It’s also full of thought-provoking themes. You’ll definitely leave the movie wondering what your plans will be if climate change forces us into a dystopia.
Snowpiercer is Bong’s first English-language film, with the majority of the film being in English (with a few exceptions). It’s accessible and filled with easy-to-enjoy content. Though, if you’re a fan of Bong, then you’ll love picking up on all of the social commentary throughout. Without spoiling anything, it’s not as simple as just feeling like you have to naturally distrust the upper-class cabin folk.
We’re going through a time where watching movies and television is a huge life-line. Consider filling up your time watching the kinds of movies that make you think, while also giving you the much-needed break from what’s going on with the world. Our review of Snowpiercer is that it’s the perfect distraction movie. So, if you’ve seen it before, or watch it soon, let us know what you think about it!
Featured image via RADiUS-TWC.
Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.