Movie Review: ‘Snowpiercer’

JagWire editors-in-chief Tanner Smith and Hannah Chern review the 2013 sci-fi film ‘Snowpiercer’


By New York Times, Radius-TWC

Chris Evans and Asung Ko starred in the 2013 sci-fi movie “Snowpiercer.”

Tanner Smith and Hannah Chern

After previously watching Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winning work Parasite, we felt it was important to look at the movie that first helped him gain notoriety: “Snowpiercer.” The 2013 sci-fi drama follows the story of the residents of the “Snowpiercer,” a train that has been split into different sections — based upon class — and the revolutionary struggles of those in the back of the train. While the initial idea seems very intriguing, the execution and poor plot development make this movie less than stellar. 

Our Thoughts

Tanner: 2/5

This movie gets two stars because it did two things right: casting Chris Evans as the lead and having a great basic idea. The problem is that just about everything else fell flat. While I was largely unimpressed, the storyline was inspiring. Although it seems like many modern movies have a post-apocalyptic tone, this seemed like it had a new refreshing take on that idea. In fact, for the first 20 minutes of the movie I was incredibly entertained by the world that Bong Joon Ho was able to create. After that though, I found myself constantly asking why? Whether it was the seemingly disjointed storyline, odd pacing, or just flat-out odd scenes that seemingly came out of nowhere, I never was able to truly connect with the movie. Although I will concede that the movie had some redeeming qualities, outside of just Chris Evans, with some funny scenes sprinkled in, the peculiar mix of violence and a weirdly developing plot, left me desiring more. While I will not say this is the worst — or even near the worst — movie that I have watched, the poor execution of a great idea left me wishing we had picked a different movie — like Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winning work Parasite — for this review. To be honest, without Chris Evans I likely would have stopped watching the movie after the first 45 minutes, because it simply would have had nothing to keep me engaged. I think under the right circumstances — like the TV adaptation that was released earlier this year — this idea could have been better fleshed out and could make an interesting story, but, with this execution, it is simply something I wouldn’t recommend. 

Hannah: 2/5

I am usually very open to watching a wide range of movies (hence why we watched this movie), but this movie just didn’t satisfy me. While I did enjoy the cinematic elements of the movie, the overall plot was almost nonexistent, causing me to lose interest as the movie dragged on. Going into this movie, I had high hopes after reading a little about the general message of the movie: class. Yet, after the first 15 minutes or so, I came to realize that the movie’s scenes were not building onto a plot. There were scenes when characters were talking but in a blink of an eye, the scene became violent as the characters were fighting their way up to the elite level of the train. My lack of interest and sense of confusion throughout the movie made it hard for the movie to redeem itself as the movie came to an end. Despite not enjoying the plot of the movie, I feel like I was able to grasp the overall meaning of the movie through the cinematography of the film. I knew that the movie was focused on talking about class, and watching the characters fight their way from the tail (symbolizing the poor) all the way up to the front (symbolizing the elite) made finishing the movie manageable. I was fond of seeing how the characters, wearing dirty and worn out clothes, grew more and more out of place as the settings of the different levels in the train changed. The movie had opened in a dark, eerie environment, but as they fought their way up, the scene had lightened up as they discovered windows, and more colors started filling the scenes. It makes sense as to why I was compelled by the cinematography of the movie more than anything else: director Bong Joon Ho. Even though his Oscar-winning film Parasite came out years after this movie, this 2013 movie demonstrated admirable cinematic qualities. While I wasn’t able to find myself enjoying this movie, the cinematic elements made up for my disappointment of the execution of the plot.

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