Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snowpiercer (2013)

Ever wonder what it's like having the entire human race jammed in one cramp, perpetually-running locomotive? Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho shows how crazy it could get in his first English movie, Snowpiercer, a smart thriller set in a dystopian future where an attempt at controlling global warming backfires and freezes life on earth. The few survivors are stuck in a massive train run by the messianic autocrat, Wilford (Ed Harris).

Snowpiercer fuses the sheen and polish of a Hollywood movie with the oddball eccentricities of a Korean film. It's produced by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), so expect a lot of exotic food fare, mutilation, gunplay, and Korean actor Song Kang-ho (Thirst).

Bong balances his film's indie sensibilities by getting blue-eyed poster boy Chris Evans in the lead role. Evans proves he's more than just brawn and testosterone, displaying a range of emotions the scope of which, seems limitless. He owns the movie, but then there's Tilda Swinton who, as Mason (Wilford's elitist "prime minister"), steals every scene she's in. Snowpiercer is supposed to be set in the distant future, but there's nothing futuristic about Mason. Everything about her is screaming retro. She's a living, walking fossil from the '70s, and Swinton has everything down pat in a spontaneous, dynamic display of acting not even Meryl Streep could match.