Weekend Review: Snowpiercer

This 2013 twist on post-apocalyptic, message-heavy SF comes from Korea and takes its inspiration from a French comic, but most of its characters speak English and it stars the MCU’s Captain America.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Title: Snowpiercer

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Joon-Ho Bong

Written by Joon-ho Bong and Kelly Masterson, based on the graphic novel series Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Jean-Marc Rochette, and Benjamin Legrand.


Chris Evans as Curtis
Kang-ho Song as Namgoong Minsoo
Ed Harris as Wilford
John Hurt as Gilliam
Tilda Swinton as Mason
Jamie Bell as Edgar
Octavia Spencer as Tanya
Ewen Bremner as Andrew
Ah-sung Ko as Yona
Alison Pill as Teacher


Eighteen years after a disaster brought about a new ice age, the last surviving remnants of humanity live aboard a train that never stops running. Social/passenger class is strictly enforced—and rumblings of discontent put society on track for rebellion.

High Point:

The deranged sequence in the classroom may be one of the most hilarious and disturbing bits of social satire since Brazil (a film to which Snowpiercer owes and acknowledges a debt).

Low Point:

Snowpiercer clearly intends to be pulp-influenced satire and its genres and overall success excuse much. Nevertheless, it’s hard to completely overlook the fact that its fictional society does not stand up to serious scrutiny.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 We’ve experienced a blizzard of dystopic films in recent years, and this one recalls earlier influences, such as Gilliam’s Brazil and 70s message SF. It’s also based on an existing graphic series. Snowpiercer, then, may not be a beautiful and unique snowflake, but it contains much that we haven’t quite seen before.

Story: 5/6

Effects: 5/6 The creators manage much on a comparatively small budget.

Production: 6/6

Acting: 6/6 The actors do remarkably well with the material, which presents several challenges, if only for its sheer, dark weirdness.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, Snowpiercer receives 35/42