2013, Movies

Snowpiercer (2013, Joon-ho Bong)

It’s great when genre flicks get celebrated and take on a life of their own. And I’m glad that a reasonably smart one such as this has become such a big thing (at least online).

But while Snowpiercer┬áis highly entertaining, like so many “high concept” action films, it’s flawed and it’s also kind of long for the concept.

I’m not objecting to the idea of the train which, in itself, is kind of silly. Rather I’m objecting to the way the train is laid out.

See, the train makes lots of sense, I guess, if you are one of the proles at the back. But, if you were one of the people in the middle or the front, or if you were the man who designed the train, it doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense. In fact, the more I think of it, the more it doesn’t make much sense at all. (Why would anyone create a train this way unless they were trying to make a political allegory?)

And so the film unfolds a bit like a video game – once the action is set in motion – and it’s like a way more clever version of the recent version of Judge Dredd, or it’s a little like The Raid. In fact, it feels to me as if any recent action movie that sets itself in one structure is kind of forced to adopt a video game mentality. Of course, nobody is forced to, but it feels that this is what’s happening to these types of movies, and that’s too bad.

The video game nature kind of mars an otherwise entertaining and reasonably clever – if entirely unsubtle – sci-fi action film cum social comment. The allegory is extraordinarily obvious and heavy-handed (and simplistic) but the film itself is mostly so engrossing and entertaining that you don’t really care.

It’s other major flaw is that it’s just a little too long, and some of the ending “Everything You Know is Wrong!” feels forced, cliche and laboured.

But on the whole this is a very entertaining film which is more intelligent than most genre films of this type. It’s just not everything the internet has been telling you it is.


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