Sunday, 30 November 2014

Snowpiercer: Blu Ray Review

Snowpiercer: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

From director Joon-ho Bong, Snowpiercer's set in a future where the human population has pretty much wiped themselves out with global warming.

After finding the Earth was heating up too quickly, scientists discovered a way to cool it all down and ironically, froze the planet and killed everyone off apart from a rag tag band of survivors who inhabit a train that travels around the world.

Divvied up into classes within the train, tempers are fraying - and revolution is in the air.

Lead by Chris Evans' Curtis, the time has come for change - and when the powers that be head to the lower ends of the train inhabited by the lower classes to snatch some children, everything boils over. With a full blown assault underway and those at the front of the train desperate to quell this uprising, it's a fight for survival as the group tries to push their way through to the front carriage and change their lives for the better...

But the closer they get to their goal, the higher the personal cost....

Snowpiercer is a curious film (it's based on a series of French graphic novels) which blends action with some truly stunning production values, brilliantly realised.

Joon-ho's created a visual dystopian world within that impresses; from the grimy gritty nature of the tail end of the train where Curtis' people live in an oppressed huddle to the more luxurious front sections where the select few live it up, each door that Curtis unlocks releases a visual feast more splendid and excessive than the last.

Snowpiercer doesn't skimp on action either - with the director creating some visual smackdowns that impress and thrill in equal measure. A showdown on the train as it heads into a long tunnel is a terrifying proposition brilliantly executed and sickening in equal measures. A clash in a primary school section as well is shocking in many ways, incorporating indoctrination and lots of bullets in a way you'd never expect.

Likewise, Tilda Swinton is fantastic as the leader of the opposition, a pastiche of Thatcher with Deidre Barlow; her presence helps keep the film out of the stuffy po-faced territory and her Northern English accent is a sight to behold.

Visually, the glimpses of the frozen vistas are excellently executed, as life outside the train is showcased. The effects work is impressive and sparingly used.

But it's not perfect.

Parts of Snowpiercer feel too episodic by their very nature and don't quite hang together as the group unlocks a door, goes through that section of the train and onto the next part. Narratively, the thread dangles a little weak and a little too loosely as it plays out.

And there's one portion towards the end of the film where Evans just doesn't deliver the powerful punch it needs. A speech about the hardships they've faced feels overcooked and over-explained, lacking emotion at a crucial stage and over using exposition that's unnecessary. (There are flashes of this throughout, leaving you to feel that the whole thing's been overtly hammered home when it didn't need to have been and when the subtlety would have aided the power of the message.)

All in all, Snowpiercer tries to deliver a commentary on the classes' system - and for the most part it does so successfully, but the overall feeling is one that it could have delivered a lot more as you board this blockbuster on its 2 hour journey. 


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