SNOWPIERCER (Bong Joon-ho). 126 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (July 18). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNNN
Want to see a great sci-fi actioner with a supremely ridiculous premise? Flush your Trans4merz ticket and go see Snowpiercer. Like Michael Bay’s spastic robot murder spree, the plot sounds crazy – but Bong Joon-ho’s movie is a gripping, thrilling, utterly credible adventure.
Snowpiercer is set in 2031, 17 years after an attempt to curb global warming goes wrong and freezes the planet. The only life left on Earth is jammed aboard a constantly speeding train where a few dozen people living in steerage plot to overthrow their upper-class masters a dozen cars ahead.
This is a movie that doesn’t condescend to its concept. It mixes spectacular action sequences with emotionally brutal scenes in which its heroes are forced to consider whether humanity really deserves to survive a global calamity. And we’re forced to consider it right along with them.
As he did in The Host, director/co-writer Bong builds real characters and assembles a fantastic cast to play them. In addition to Bong regular Song Kang-ho as an exasperated security expert, Chris Evans is terrific as the reluctant hero, and Tilda Swinton is a constant delight as his nemesis, a pissy martinet who’s modelled herself after Margaret Thatcher but can’t quite get the accent right.
It all adds up to a tremendously good movie. See it with a crowd.