|Going off the rails in the engine room. Image courtesy of the Weinstein Company.|
|Original cover of 1982 comic.|
I was immediately hooked on the premise, as trains are my most-preferred method of transportation. There's a strict order to their operation, they are quick, efficient, and have an intriguing history. Most of all, there's a loss of control once you are on a train that is all at once comforting and uncomfortable. In many trains, the further towards the front one goes, the better life gets, and Snowpiercer is no exception. Curtis, along with his comrades, (featuring appearances by Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer and Korean actor Kang-ho Song) decide enough is enough. In just over two hours, the hunt to the front is on. This is the point where a lesser film would've descended into madcap violence and mayhem, with the final outcome blatantly clear. Not so with Snowpiercer. The further ahead the "tails" get to the front, the murkier and darker the plot becomes, to the point where I began to grip the arm of the chair every time the party managed to get another carriage door to open.Tilda Swinton, a personal favorite of mine, plays the truly despicable Mason, Wilford's evangelistic right-hand woman whose watery eyes peer out onto the downtrodden masses through frames that should've been thrown out with the shag carpeting of the 1970s.
Most of the action takes place within the train, although we get glimpses of the frosty outside world. This makes for tense, telescopic cinematography, with plenty of long corridor views and choppy action sequences shot from every angle. It succeeds in trapping the viewer, and I was disturbed most of all by the things left unseen and unsaid.
It took a long time for Snowpiercer to arrive at the station, but it has been well worth the wait. I'll be looking forward to owning my copy on Oct. 21!