I didn't expect much from this underdog of a film. Now, I can't stop thinking about it.
Based on the French graphic novel by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer is set in a future where a last-ditch effort to stop global warming works a little too well, bringing about a new ice age and killing almost all life on Earth.
Thankfully, the last of humanity has managed to survive aboard the Snowpiercer: a massive train running on a track that spans the globe.
Did I mention it's powered by a perpetual-motion engine?
Yes, the premise is bizarre, and its theme of class conflict – with the poor occupying the tail and the wealthy occupying the front – is heavy-handed.
But Snowpiercer might be the most entertaining and memorable comic book movie I've seen all year.
That sounds like it’s not saying much, but, remember, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain America 2 (another strong comic book movie starring Evans) also came out this year.
Evans, in one of his strongest performances yet, plays Curtis: one of the downtrodden passengers in the tail section, living in cramped quarters, and subsisting on black rubbery protein bars.
The film follows Curtis as he leads a rebellion through the upper class sections to take control of the engine from Wilford: the wealthy industrialist who built the Snowpiercer.
The story takes a turn every time the rebels enter a new section of the train, and Korean director Joon-ho Bong keeps Snowpiercer moving at a fast pace – no pun intended.
In one gripping sequence, Curtis and his rebels go up against a gang of hooded, axe wielding, cronies wearing night-vision goggles, while the train passes through a dark tunnel.
Snowpiercer was almost cut to pieces when Harvey Weinstein demanded that 20 minutes be cut and opening and closing monologues be added.
This led to a feud between Bong and Weinstein, and Snowpiercer was punished with a limited run until strong reviews brought on a wide release.
That’s why, despite being released in 2013, a lot of you have only heard of the film in the last few months.
When you see it, you’ll be thankful it survived unscathed.
Snowpiercer is a rare treat for genre fans – it shifts effortlessly from intense action, to zany stylized visuals, to heartfelt drama with confidence.
There are moments in Snowpiercer that will both shock and move you, which is exceptionally rare in the sci-fi/action genre.