Revolution on a train results in the erasing of inequality for all time to come…..what a wonderful world it would be.
Our opinion is that it is the lack of Swiss banks and off-shore
accounts on board that forced the haves to accommodate the wishes of the
have-nots. In India it was Lalu Yadav who promised to bring the black
money home and to make the roads in Bihar as smooth as the cheeks of
Hema Malini (aka Aaisha Bi). We the Aam aadmi are still waiting for that liberation day.
Snow-piercer is set some decades in the future, after a
misguided attempt to reverse global warming has instead precipitated a
new ice age.
Virtually the entire film takes place on a moving train
that, endlessly traversing the globe, carries the last vestige of life
on a frozen earth. Order is rigidly enforced. A tiny fraction of haves
occupy the luxury cars up front; the hapless 99 percent are packed into
rear cars and looking to redress their situation.
Rampant inequality is the film’s narrative motor. Human interest is
negligible and psychology is irrelevant. The claustrophobic, forcibly
focused tunnel vision suggests the situation of the doomed sewer-trapped
partisans in Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s Kanal (1956), a film about the Warsaw uprising; the continuous trajectory is reminiscent of David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (2012), set almost entirely in a limo crawling through midtown Manhattan traffic.
The spectacle of class warfare aboard a 1,001-carriage super train
makes for the most overtly leftwing pop movie in the eight years since V for Vendetta brandished the black flag of anarchy as the only recourse in a media-driven police state. Snowpiercer
has enjoyed great success abroad, in part because its political program
is couched as an action film.
The movie’s principals are an appropriately motley lot. Chris Evans, the eponymous star of Captain America
and a presence as generic as his name, is the nominal protagonist, an
angry young “natural leader” from the back of the train. John Hurt hams
it up as his wizened guru, and Jamie Bell, the original Billy Elliot, is
his young sidekick. Korean actor Song Kang-ho appears as a
drug-addicted scientific genius who is bribed to join the revolt; the
ingénue Ko Ah-sung plays his daughter, as she did in Bong’s The Host (2006). Oscar-winner Octavia Spenser, part of The Help (2011), is the aggrieved mother whose loss provides the spark that ignites the revolt.
The director discovered Le Transperceneige (1982), the comic by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette on which Snowpiercer
is based, in a used bookstore in Seoul. Bong says that he was
transfixed and, as if to demonstrate the nineteenth-century stock phrase
that railway travel produced the “annihilation of time and space,” read
the entire novel then and there. But in adapting Le Transperceneige,
which is undistinguished in every aspect save its concept, Bong and his
American cowriter Kelly Masterson kept only the novel’s premise, freely
embroidering it with new characters and incidents.
The underclass uprising is brutal, with much hand-to-hand combat (as
well as stabbings, gougings, and amputations) in confined, jolting
spaces. Everyone is under pressure. As shortages are endemic, even
bullets are “extinct.” At one point, someone smokes “the world’s last