IHAO on ... Snowpiercer
Not too long ago, I started watching a new youtube series called Every Frame a Painting, which is an editor's view on film. He talks about a lot of great stuff in there, and I highly suggest watching his stuff. He did an episode on Snowpiercer two weeks ago, and I was intrigued. Because I'll be honest, it looked stupid. Nuclear winter kills almost everything on the planet, the only survivors are on a train that navigates the whole world and never stops running, and has been like that for 18 years. That sounds stupid. Then I started noticing the things involved.
It is a french graphic novel, directed by the super talented Bong Joon-ho, a Korean director who made Memories of Murder and The Host (not the crappy Twilight one, the Korean Kaiju horror film), and stars Tilda Swinton, Chris Evans, John Hurt, and Ed Harris, plus Octavia Spencer and Song Kang-ho (an AMAZING Korean actor, like ... 9 Korean Best Actor awards). This is ... how did they get everyone involved?
Let me tell ya, it is because this movie is as close to perfect as you can get with that ridiculous premise. Science fiction is always about allegory. Children of Men was a pretty movie that had really stupid messages and allegory. Snowpiercer hits its mark perfectly. It talks about what life is worth, class systems, religious terrorism, law versus choice, perception of reality, and all sorts of other things. And you would think that a film talking about all of those things would end up being crazy pretentious on top of it all, but this film is incredibly deftly handed. Bong Joon-ho is very very good. The film is funny when it needs to be, exciting, tense, thrilling, horrific, incredibly heartwrenchingly sad, abundantly triumphant! It goes through all these emotions in a smart, logical way that makes this film just an amazing watch.
The acting in this movie is across the board great, from every single character and even the extras. Tilda Swinton, who is not an actress I like, knocks it out of the park with an incredible performance. Chris Evans, who has proven he is a good leading man, plays an incredibly dense leading protagonist character, and has a fantastic monologue and some great scenes with John Hurt and Song Kang-ho. The film does an incredible job of seeding ideas without straight dialogue. Many films think that storytelling and dialogue are one and the same. Gone Girl did a great job of doing storytelling without doing dialogue. But Snowpiercer is able to implant ideas in our minds without ever saying the words. It allows us to make logical leaps, then plays on those leaps so we better understand the world and the film. It was crazy how many of us viewing it together all made the same leaps without ever talking to each other or the film having a character directly say it.
Snowpiercer may just be the best made film I've seen all year, right up there with Guardians of the Galaxy. It is certainly a new favorite. I cannot cannot suggest this enough. If you can buy into its premise and allow the film to take you on its journey, you will not be disappointed.