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Monday, December 8, 2014

Snowpiercer 2014 * * Stars

SnowpiercerDirector: Bong Joon-ho
Year: 2014
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris

Released in the United States via the summer of 2014, Snowpiercer despite its neat opening credit sequence, is a post-apocalyptic seizure of a movie, a real nightmare. Part Mad Max and part 1995's Waterworld, this is a dirty, violently grubby film that seems to fit the monotoned style of delivering lines courtesy of star Chris Evans. With blood-spattering violence (not to mention queasy, sound-enhancing quality to go along with said violence), what we have here is a flick in which its characters channel the look of down trout homeless people while director Bong Joon-ho provides a claustrophobic setting that's mediocre (despite harboring good intentions and sored ambition). Do I agree with most of today's critics who believe this thing is the mark of a future cult classic? Not so much I tell you. Not so much.

Containing a blustery, wintry setting, a script with enough futuristic jargon to provoke major eye rolling, and action scenes where it's almost impossible to see what the heck is going on, Snowpiercer takes place circa 2031. The ice age has arrived with Earth being comprised of nothing but sub-zero temperatures and extinct life expenditures. The only living humans ride a large train that continually travels across the globe. What's strange and at the same time, might make sense in a post-apocalyptic world, is the fact that this elaborate train has a class system. The rich people ride up front (and eat prime steaks) while the poor schleps near the back end eat protein bars made out of cockroaches (yuck!). One man or should I say loner (cantankerous rebel if you wanna get all political) wants to change all that. His name is Curtis Everett and he is played by Chris Evans. The Evans character and his assorted minions want to get to the front of the train. But in their way are the engine's caretaker Wilford (played by Ed Harris) and his icy second in command Mason (Tilda Swinton). What unfurls is a series of drawn out, dialogue-driven scenes followed by stabbings, shootings, and delectable, frozen arm amputation (hey, what can I tell ya, it's cold outside).

So yes, this limited release is violent with funky, nasty characters but it's also at times, boring. And as you watch Snowpiercer with lots of cartoonish, CGI effects (mainly within the exteriors), you wonder why capable Oscar winners/nominees like Ed Harris and Tilda Swinton would bother to appear in it. By the looks of things, they're clearly there for the paycheck. I mean, why else would one of them show up in the last twenty minutes spouting off lazy, contrived dialogue while the other gets off on wearing some ugly false teeth. I guess you'd have to ask them. Have fun with that.

Anyway, for the people out there who felt compelled to praise this film, I employ you, why salute it for its absurdness? For me, what was on screen seemed too weird to be laudable and at the same time, too disheartening to care about anyone involved. Everything in frame is baited to take its gnarly, dystopian estimation and hammer it to levels of utmost ridiculousness (and not in a good way). After a viewing, I thought what a weird, sickening tryst of a movie that despite a capable cast, needed to be put to pasture. Snowpiercer is out of the box film making that will cause you to either take a long shower or put your body through a high-sheeted car wash. It's a "snow" that's a definite no-go.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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