This is not an easy movie to find. I saw no trailers, heard no buzz online. I only know of Snowpiercer because I saw an article in Entertainment Weekly. Apparently there's a snit between the Korean filmmakers and the US distributors. They wanted 20 minutes of cuts, the director said No, so it went in limited release. After being a huge hit oversears. Then buzz here caused it to open a bit wider, but In A World faced with a billion screens showing Transformers movies, it was hard to find screens. As a result, when I looked for our Fourth of July blockbuster, it wasn't at Holland 7, Holland 8, Celebrations North-South-Rivertown. But it WAS opening at Celebration Woodland, which is the Jack Loeks second run theatre in Grand Rapids.
We ended up with nachos and hot dogs -- come on, it's the 4th, gotta have a hot dog -- and settled into our seats.
Celebration Woodland Theatre #1 12:55pm 2x$5.00
Korean film with an international cast, mainly in English, Snowpiercer is based on a French graphic novel series, Le Transperceneige.
They say you are allowed three impossible things in a SF story... up to a point. I'll put out the illogic of having a globe circling train going around in a convoluted path once a year, never stopping, for eighteen years. The last people and creatures alive in the world after the catastrophic failure of a global warming cure precipitated a deep ice age. Now... think about this for a moment. Let's forget for the moment the perpetual motion machine engine from which they extract useful work, which is violating all the laws of thermodynamics. Just consider entropy. Do you think that track is going to be intact every time around? This would have to fail.
And I won't even bring up the question as to why the train has to even move to be an Ark.
No. This train is a metaphor. A device to create layers to break through. A journey. A struggle. A revolution.
I take it that in the graphic novel the train was a thousand cars long, which makes for a better Ark. This one is like forty and they built 15-20 car interiors. At the tail, it's fascist ghetto. At the head, it's decadent useless party life a la the Capital in Hunger Games. In between are all the cars needed to provide for the rest. Food, school, prison, dentist. The revolution starts in the tail and drives to the engine.
Implautible? Sure. But go with it. The CHARACTERS totally believe the situation they are in, its convincing, even while impossible.
The cast... amazing. Our hero is Captain America, though with his beard and clothes, I kept seeing Noah Wylie from Falling Skies. And Ed Harris is always great. Think of his self-important director from The Truman Show combined with Kodos the Executioner from Star Trek "To Catch The Conscious Of The King". The Korean father and daughter are exceptional.
But the real star is the always amazing Tilda Swinton -- if you've never seen Orlando you're in for a treat. Here she is the perfect Nazi functionary, in love with the fairy tale of the Party, and way too fond of violence and an admonishing condescending attitude until she has to save her own skin.
Be the shoe.
The ending isn't satisfying in the conventional sense, but it most definitely works.
Highly Recommended -- Catch This On The Big Screen If You Can
TRAILERS: Locke Guy on the run movie? Trailer was designed to be obscure. Supermensch: Legend of Shep Gordon I was afraid was going to be another Will Farrell comedy. Instead it's a documentary about this really nice guy who ended up being the promoter for all sorts of acts. Stars Michael Douglas, Alice Cooper, Sylvester Stallone, Shep Gordon, Emeril Lagasse -- Shep may have invented the celebrity chef. Boyhood -- oh I've heard of this one. His stars were six years old and he filmed his movie over the next twelve years. That's dedication. Also the trailer for Chef, the lovely food movie we saw the other week.