In light of the news that 2013’s post-apocalyptic ice age train-ride Snowpiercer is getting its own spinoff television series, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s Throwback Thursday to the movie. Starring Chris Evans, this film is Bong Joon-Ho’s first English speaking project. It’s set seventeen years after the earth has been engulfed by another Ice Age, due to humankind’s response to Global Warming.
At first, the concept of this film seems completely whacky. In response to the destructive catastrophe, the last remaining humans pile into a massive train that travels around the globe on a set track. I know, you might be saying to yourself that that has to be the most far fetched plotline you’ve ever heard. I understand. I felt the same way at first and in many aspects, I still do.
Watching the movie though, the point of where it takes place does not hold a candle to the message the movie has. In Mad Max: Fury Road, a post-apocalyptic world leaves room for utter chaos. One man savagely rules over people and pretty much denies them of their human rights and dignity. Snowpiercer is similar in a lot of ways. Those in the back cart were those who could not afford a train ticket and therefore, are treated heinously. Packed into tight quarters, fed mystery protein bars (that you find out are simply crushed up bugs), and occasionally ripped of their children, these occupants are dirty and depressed.
Who can blame them? The front carts live lavishly. There’s clubs, saunas, and even sushi. Children who are born in the front carts received an education and it looks like none of them know the struggle that the back sections experience. Most of the back cart people are missing limbs; a result of being starved and resorting to eating their own limbs, as opposed to eating children. Yep, children. Chris Evans plays Curtis, a man who was only 17 when he first stepped onto the train ride from hell. With encouragement from others, he leads the fight to claim the front carts.
Evans is stellar in this. Not only does he showcase some Captain America worth fighting, but just as Steve Rogers, he’s a leader. Even if he doesn’t believe it. Curtis wants for him and his people to stop living like dirt. He wants the children to stop being stolen and forced into child labor. And Curtis is not without faults. During a heart-wrenching monologue, he reveals he too participated in cannibalism and the murder of the mother of his friend. He also expresses how cowardly he feels, as he was not able to cut off his own arm, when so many others were.
“You know what I hate about myself? I know what people taste like. And I know that babies taste best. There was a woman. She was hiding with her baby. And some men with knives came. They killed her and they took her baby. And then an old man… no relation, just an old man, stepped forward and he said, “Give me the knife.” And everyone thought he’d kill the baby himself. But he took the knife and he cut off his arm. And he said, “Eat this, if you’re so hungry. Eat – eat this, just leave the baby.” I’d never seen anything like that. And the men put down their knives. Probably guess who that old man was… That baby was Edgar. And I was the man with the knife. I killed Edgar’s mother. And then one by one, other people in the tail section started cutting off arms and legs and offering them. It was like a miracle. And I wanted to, I tried, I just…” – Curtis
Tilda Swinton is also in Snowpiercer and she is just creepy as hell. Her character has a distinct opinion of the back cart people and it’s that they are not worthy at all to be a part of the others. Not only that, but that they should be thankful for being let onto the train at all, since none could afford a ticket.
For all intensive purposes, I should not like this film. But, I do. Not only is the acting fantastic from all cast members, but I enjoy the social message. Not only that when the world goes to hell, the certain few are going to try to royally suppress the poor majority, but that those with money control everything. There’s more than enough to be passed around, but for the sake of egos and greed, some are forced to live in terrible conditions so others can live like kings. Go watch Snowpiercer.
Also, Bong Joon-Ho’s film Okja is available on Netflix right now.