Bonus Materials: Bullet trains and class rage in Snowpiercer | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bonus Materials: Bullet trains and class rage in Snowpiercer

Posted by on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 1:47 PM

click to enlarge Chris Evans stars in Snowpiercer - COURTESY OF RADIUS-TWC
  • courtesy of Radius-TWC
  • Chris Evans stars in Snowpiercer
The brutal and visionary South Korean science fiction thriller Snowpiercer made a splash a few weeks back when it finally got a wide release in U.S. theaters after an extended tussle with distributor Harvey Weinstein. That dispute almost kept it out of theaters here.

Details are too complicated to go into, but the upshot is that Snowpiercer is now available via video on demand at your friendly neighborhood cable provider or online retailer. If you didn't catch it in the theater, I highly recommend it for a movie night at home. It'll mess you up. But, you know, in a good way.

Best approached as a sort of wigged-out allegory, the film stars Chris "Captain America" Evans and an international cast that includes Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer and Korean headliners Song Kang-ho and Ko Asung.

It's the year 2031, and the world has been plunged into a lethal ice age, thanks to some ill-advised atmospheric processing. The film's first grim joke is that mankind froze itself trying to compensate for global warming. The world's last survivors, human and animal, live aboard the massive bullet train Snowpiercer, which ceaselessly circles the planet, thanks to a futuristic perpetual motion engine and a dozen other mad-scientist conceits. It's the film's second grim joke that mankind's Ark is a train.

Our hero Curtis Everett (Evans) leads a rebellion from the train's rear cars—where mankind's dregs are kept prisoner—to the front cars, where the elite meet. The film is structured as an old-fashioned A-to-B quest, with the rebels fighting their way forward to the train's engine and its mysterious engineer.

The form of the story may be old school, but everything else is cutting-edge sci-fi weirdness. Director Bong Joon-ho conjures startling, hallucinatory images within the train, including an impossible aquarium, a drug-fueled rave and a deeply disturbing kitchen car. You may spot visual echoes of Blade Runner, Brazil and even The Shining, but the film has a nightmare aesthetic all its own.

It's class warfare made hellishly literal, and the film's heavy gore factor might be a legitimate concern for the squeamish. (This isn't a family-night movie.) But the audacious storytelling is something to savor. We get plenty of big-budget, Hollywood-crafted, sci-fi adventures each summer, but few leave a lasting impression. Snowpiercer is a jolt of adrenalin. We're reminded: "Oh, yeah, that's what great science fiction movies can achieve."

Extras: As an early-release VOD title, the version of Snowpiercer you get online or on cable is the same as you get in theaters. If the typical distribution patterns hold, we'll get a DVD/Blu-ray release in a few months with the usual suite of bonus materials.

Also new this week:
  • Director Jim Jarmusch takes a stab at the modern vampire romance with the hipster fable Only Lovers Left Alive, also starring Tilda Swinton and John Hurt. The cast also includes Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska.  
  • Tom Hardy headlines the British drama Locke, which manages to be dramatic and suspenseful despite almost everything taking place with Hardy inside a car alone. How'd they do that? Find out with the behind-the-scenes doc and director commentary track on the DVD and Blu-ray editions. 
  • HBO's excellent and addictive Prohibition-era crime drama continues with Boardwalk Empire: Season 4. The fifth and final season debuts in September, so now's the time to get your binge-watching on. 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

Sure he could have said more. But his answers, while terse, were responsive to the questions. And I've done a …

by Donald Tepper on A somewhat less than intimate interview with David Copperfield (Arts)

Any plans to bring Precarity to New Orleans?

by Mary Deemer Magee on Meet a Forgotten Legend of New Orleans Jazz in British Artist John Akomfrah's Precarity at the Nasher (Arts)

This review is idiotic.

by Fillum Critick on Movie Review: Deadpool Is Spider-Man But With Nudity, Gore and No Fourth Wall (Arts)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation