How's this for an allegory for the human condition? In the post-apocalyptic future, the surviving members of humanity are trapped together in a giant, high-speed train endlessly circling the globe on the ultimate fast-track to nowhere.
That's the story in Snowpiercer, the first English-language film from Korean cult filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, a brooding cautionary tale of social dynamics and environmental suicide dressed in the trappings of a bloody, brawling action thriller.
It's a rather despairing look at the species, and the plot is not exactly airtight, but the director's energy and humor, and some entertaining performances make it worth the ride.
The film is adapted from a three-volume French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige. Set in the aftermath of global environmental collapse, the comic is the perfect, vehicle for filmmaker Bong, who tried to warn us about the catastrophic effects of climate change in his delicious eco-monster movie mash-up The Host.
All of Earth is reduced to frozen white waste, except for a cross section of people who have boarded a ginormous train driven by a perpetual motion engine on a track that circumvents the entire globe, one revolution per year. The plot itself revolves around a group of rebels led by Chris Evans and Jamie Bell, stuck in steerage in the "Tail" of the train, battling their way forward to the "Head" in search of justice.
Along the way, they release drug-addled engineer Nam (Kang-ho Song, star of The Host) from his cryogenic sleep. Nam is valuable to the rebels because he knows every inch of the train, and Song is invaluable to the film for his hipster sarcasm. (Read more)