The early word on SNOWPIERCER was through the roof and I feared that it couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. It did and actually surpassed them as well. 

Joon-ho Bong (THE HOST) has crafted an adventure tale that is unlike most as it is equal part action and part intelligent social commentary. The only films that come to mind while I watched it were Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL (1985) and John Boorman’s ZARDOZ (1974). 

Set in the not too distant future after a failed global warming experiment that spurred a new ice age, SNOWPIERCER finds the last remnants of the civilized world living aboard a super train with an eternal engine. 

Generations have lived on the train with the wealthy living it up in the front sections and the poorest of the poor relegated to the back. As we are told time and time again, everyone serves a purpose and has their place in this ecosystem. If balance is not maintained then what is rest of humanity is doomed. 

As seen from the point of view of the poor, led by beleaguered leader Gillam (John Hurt) and his protégée Curtis (Chris Evans), the situation has become untenable. Attempts to take over the train have failed in the past, but this time they are committed to success at all costs. 

Unfortunately, the rebels are not remotely prepared for what lies ahead of them. The doors lead them closer to the engine, but each section is like a bizarre surrealist nightmare that I won’t spoil so you can experience the shock and confusion as it’s meant to unfold. 

With solid performances by the entire cast which also includes Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Song Kang-ho and a completely bat-shit crazy Tilda Swinton, the movie is, on one hand, absurdist black comedy and on the other, a cautionary tale of a world gone terribly wrong. Bong’s ability to mesh these two conceits seamlessly is truly an epic achievement. 

Possibly not what you’re expecting from a summer release, SNOWPIERCER is a masterwork of genre filmmaking and a MUST SEE MOVIE for those that appreciate a good story with their escapist entertainment.

JULY 16, 2014