Thoughts on… Snowpiercer (2013)

PHjHre1GQ9z3mm_2_mBased on a graphic novel called Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer (2013) is set in a strange future where the world has experienced global cooling on a massive scale, to the extent that there are few people left alive on earth. The people that are left live within a train that constantly travels around the globe. We meet a number of people who live within the train, in squalor and in conditions strictly controlled by a military force. What is their purpose on the train? Are they the only people living on the train? These questions and more are posed, and potentially answered, in one of the most compelling films I’ve seen recently.

I just watched this film and my mind has been sufficiently blown. What a film. With that being said, here is a collection of some of my thoughts on Snowpiercer. Potential spoilers below.

  1. I should start by saying that I really enjoyed this film. It has a really strange plot, with a backstory that was so intriguing. I wanted to know so much more about it.
  2. Along with the strange plot, there were occasional moments of sheer horror and grotesqueness that ensured the stakes were high for the characters the entire time. There was an excellent amount of suspense and tension throughout.
  3. I think this might have been the first film that I’ve actually felt nervous in watching, for a really long time.
  4. I should pay more attention to Chris Evans beyond Not Another Teen Movie (2001).
  5. Tilda Swinton. Perfection. She has to be an actual shape-shifting alien rather than a real human being because her performance in this was top notch, and a complete departure from other roles I’ve seen her play.
  6. The music was amazing.
  7. Really great direction and cinematography throughout, despite the whole thing being set on a train. You’d think it would eventually become quite claustrophobic, but the direction made great use of the available space. The fight scenes stood out as particularly memorable, especially the one set in the dark.
  8. The reveal for each section of the train was also pretty awesome. This film kept me on my toes the entire time because each new environment had new conditions and obstacles for the characters.
  9. I just can’t stop thinking about the story though. I have so many questions.
  10. For example, where do all the ravers on the train live? Do they just have a dance party all day every day?
  11. Why don’t people in suspenseful movies make sure that threatening people are actually dead before running off? I know this prevents further story development later on, but whenever a main character doesn’t do a proper killshot before leaving a body behind, I can immediately tell that they’ll come back to life. And that wrecks my enjoyment of the film later on. I suppose it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.
  12. I want to know more about the early days of the train and how people started living in it, whether there was any choosing process, or whether people had to just scramble on as a result of the conditions they were living in getting worse.
  13. I’m also really interested in the slight changes in language in the future. It was funny to hear of objects like guns or cigarettes becoming “extinct”. It’s definitely not a word you would usually hear in reference to objects, so it was a nice touch in terms of constructing a genuine dystopian future with the language changes that reflect the societal and cultural changes surrounding it. Lots of great world-building in this film.
  14. After reading around about Snowpiercer, it sounds like lots of people were disappointed with the ending. I didn’t hate it, although it did seem like a fairly standard ending for a film like this. I didn’t predict it, though.
  15. Watch this film! Bong Joon-Ho is a pretty great director overall.
  16. Just look at Tilda Swinton’s crazy eyes! If you stare into them long enough, you’ll actually be convinced to buy this film on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

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Watch this film on Amazon!

30 comments

  1. ANNA!!!!

    I have a piece on this coming out tomorrow!!!

    #soulies

    Spoilers: I didn’t love it QUITE as much as you….

    1. Haha! So weird.

      #soulies #telepathy

  2. I had to watch this after seeing all of the hype on the blogs that I follow. I loved it too, but I seemed to have had the same questions as you did. It’s tempting to get the graphic novel that the film is based on to see if the answers are in there 🙂
    – Allie

    1. I’m tempted to read the graphic novel too! From a quick glimpse at its Wikipedia entry it looks like it pans out a little bit differently, but the art also looks really cool.

  3. I loved it too! I particularly loved the surreal moments like the New Year celebration and the school

    1. That school scene was so weird! That song and the propaganda video were really creepy, not to mention the eggs bit. Loved it.

  4. Good review. It was the kind of movie that not only had a weird premise, but absolutely delved deep into it with reckless abandon.

    1. Thanks! 🙂 That’s totally what I loved about it – it’s weird, but it absolutely commits to its weirdness.

    1. Haha! That bit was so good.

  5. Good write up.

    This film seems to have divided opinion with the love it or hate camps both strong in their views. I’m in the former although I can see the few plot points which might cause some to question their enjoyment of it.

    I have to agree with your assessment on Tilda Swinton. While I usually avoid her films because frankly she scares me (she HAS to be an alien like you said) she was fantastic here.

    This is on my top ten films for the year shortlist! 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I love how divisive this film is. It does seem to be one of those films that people either love or hate really passionately. I agree though, I can see how some elements of the film could be frustrating or eyeroll-worthy for the people who aren’t fans of it. Tilda Swinton is just amazing though. That is an undeniable fact!

  6. Brittani · · Reply

    Lovely write up! This is one of my favorites of this year. There were definitely some unanswered questions, but I let them slide because I was enjoying the film so much.

    1. Thanks Brittani! 🙂 Me too, even though there were some notable logical inconsistencies, I was having too much fun to care about them!

  7. I really hope this gets a UK release date at some point. I become more fascinated with every post I read about it.

    1. Wow, it hasn’t been released in the UK yet? That is really surprising! I hope it gets over there too at some point!

    2. Me too, Abbi! I’m desperate to see this thing!!! I’m really sick of movies not getting a UK release lately. There have been quite a few. GRRR.

      Great review, Anna! This sounds like a lot of fun. I want to see it so bad!!! : (

      1. I find it really weird that this hasn’t had a UK release! It’s gotten almost universally positive reviews and has made a bunch of cash money, so it doesn’t make sense to me. I hope you guys get to see it eventually!

  8. markkadams · · Reply

    This was a good movie, but you liked it more than I did (I gave it a 6/10). The “leaps in logic” I had a problem with — see my post for more.

    1. Yeah, I think it’s those leaps in logic that cause a lot of people to really dislike it. It does seem like a film people either love or hate for that reason!

  9. I haven’t seen it yet so I’d skip the spoiler section but it’s high on my watchlist, I read nothing but good things and I adore Tilda Swinton.

    1. I would so love to hear your thoughts on this one! Tilda Swinton is amazing.

  10. Have you read the story about how Tilda Swinton came to be in the film? Check it out if you haven’t … adds a whole other layer of appreciation!

    1. After reading your comment I just did! I love her so much, she really has fun creating these crazy characters, and this film was no exception.

  11. This film seems to be getting a lot of mixed reviews but I can’t say I’ve ever watched anything like it before. That’s why I LOVED it, despite its flaws. It kept surprising me at every turn. Tilda Swinton was amazing. And the directing was beautiful.

    1. Totally agreed! 🙂 Tempted to give it a re-watch already!

  12. Ugh I WANT to see this!! I managed to see Guardians of the Galaxy recently and found it pretty disappointing, so I think that the darker tone of this film would suit me better. Plus, I’ve not seen a single film in which Tilda Swinton wasn’t absolutely amazing.

    1. It’s funny, I just can’t be bothered to see Guardians of the Galaxy! Those superhero movies just make me feel so exhausted and filled with deja vu, so I tend to avoid them. You should see this though, it’s great! And very dark. Not to mention, Tilda Swinton is a straight up genius!

  13. Arrrrgggghhhh I wanna see this! But I don’t think it’s showing anywhere here now… :/ Nice write-up here, lady! I agree–Tilda Swinton HAS to be an alien. Tilda Swinton and Meryl Streep can literally play ANYTHING. It’s amazing.

    1. Thanks Cara, you definitely have to see it at some point! Tilda Swinton is perfection, even if she is secretly an alien!

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