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Snowpiercer: the Best Film of 2014 (That You Can Watch At Home)

by Sarah Ford

Most Americans may not know South Korean film maker Bong Joon-ho but his English language debut film Snowpiercer may be one of the best films of the summer. And, even better, you can watch it at home.

Something For Everyone

Snowpiercer is based on a French graphic novel and is set in a post Ice Age world. Most of the population died but some escaped onto a train that never stops running thanks to an immensely powerful engine. Those who live in the back of the train find themselves living in absolute horror and utter poverty. Everyone is covered in dirt, many are missing limbs and they are fed something that looks like black blocks of jelly When the story starts, we find ourselves watching the back-trainers getting ready for yet another rebellion.

Bong Joon-ho has done an incredibly job of making sure that the audience quickly cares about each one of these rebels and the performances are incredible. Chris Evans plays the reluctant leader of the group and after five minutes you forget all about Captain America. His leader starts out as the typical post-apocalyptic hero; gruff, quiet and relatively alone bu Evans doesn’t play into the tropes and turns him into a character that is entirely own by the end. Jamie Bell plays the hero’s utterly faithful sidekick, a hothead who cares about his people and how to save them. Dystopian favorite John Hurt plays their wise leader and Octavia Spencer turns in a strong performance as a mother who will do anything for her children.

But this isn’t the usual rag-tag group of rebels. There is Song Kang-ho as a drug addled genius who is the group’s only hope of making it through the train. He isn’t concerned with the rebellion and only wants his drug and to protect his daughter, Go Ang-sung as a drugged out River Tam. Ewen Bremner and Luke Pasqualino may spend many of their scenes in the background but their acting and Bong Joon-ho’s brilliant script and directing mean that you care about each and every person.

Of course, Tilda Swinton steals almost every scene she is in because that is exactly what Tilda Swinton does. She is Effie Trinket at her worst, trying to persuade the back-tailers that their way of life is good for them and to place their devotion in the train’s creator, Wilford.Every time she speaks your skin crawls and her complete  There are other great turns by secondary actors such as the horrifically sweet Alison Pill as the worst teacher you’ve ever seen.

The plot is brilliant and turns many dystopian trends right on their heads. The battle scenes are incredible-probably the biggest fight scene takes place entirely in the dark and the music is not the crashing orchestra one would expect but more often than not it is a simple piano.And the film keeps you guessing until the very and probably beyond the credits.

Plainly said, the movie is  incredible.

The Gamble

The film was released in 2013 in South Korean to incredible success but to do issues between the director and distributing studios wasn’t released in America until this summer. It was released in limited theaters (although now that is is picking up great stream and fantastic reviews, it could spread) but two weeks after it’s theatrical release was placed on video on demand. Occasionally seen as the modern day “straight to DVD” Snowpiercer‘s 1.1 million dollar weekend from VOD alone could change that. This wasn’t a summer blockbuster and didn’t receiver nearly the advertisement that say, Transformers or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes did and it hasn’t received the same money in response but as it builds traction it looks like the studio’s gamble will pay off.

If the film is playing near you, go see it. It’s worth the price of any ticket and if it’s not near you it is absolutely worth renting on your TV. Probably more than once.

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