Adapted from a French graphic novel this film set in a dystopian very near future manages to be involving, intelligent, action packed and somehow very entertaining. Directed by Bong Joon-ho and featuring a top notch cast including a brilliantly hysterical Tilda Swinton, an almost swashbuckling Chris Evans as well as strong support from John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Luke Pasqualino, Song Kang-ho and Ewen Bremner.
Set in a future after the world has been frozen into a premature ice age by the emission of gases with the only survivors being the inhabitants of the train, Snowpiercer. Not that everyone on the train is equal however and different social levels exist in this confined space and a revolutionary coup is always going to be in the minds of those at the lower levels of this pecking order. Meanwhile the supposed benefactor of the whole project, the mysterious Wilford, takes on a mythical identity akin to that of the Wizard of Oz.
Led by Curtis-Evans- and his acolyte Edgar-Bell- and under the auspices of learned elder Gilliam- Hurt- a coup of sorts is organised to gain some form of equality and to find out what becomes of the children who are removed from their section at periodic intervals. In order to get past Wilford’s guards and supporters including Minister Mason-Swinton- it is necessary for them to break through steely doors and for this they must enlist the help of Yona who agrees to do it in exchange for kronol- an explosive which also acts as both currency and to be used in attaining a drug like high- but he too has plans of his own which are not wholly in accordance with those of Curtis and his band of revolutionaries.
The film moves along at a break neck speed much like a film allegory of a speeding train and this helps to raise the levels of tension and suspense. At times the action scenes become a little repetitive but this is more a matter of personal preference rather than any harsh criticism.
At the films denouement it is impossible to feel as if you have not been entertained but there is also a very strong message about class and society itself running all the way through it. At heart Snowpiercer is a thoroughly enjoyable ride which exhilarates for most of its duration although its ending is beyond credibility and rather lets it down.