Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Long Train Runnin' Off The Rails

Snowpiercer is set on an enormous train that circles the Earth constantly. The Earth is a giant, inhospitable ice cube now, and has been for decades. All that's left of humanity is on that train. The people at the front have it pretty good. Steak, hair salons, pleasant music, all that jazz. The people at the back are crammed in like livestock, subsisting on some weird gelatin thing which I'd rather not contemplate on the ingredients of.

Chris Evans is Curtis, and he's fed up. He's been planning a long time to get past the soldiers and storm his way to the front, and he's got a lot of other disgruntled people with him. I missed some of the preparations, but they work their way forward with the knowledge from people who were briefly brought forward, and a man named Namgoong Minsoo (played by Kang-ho Song, who was also in The Good, the Bad, the Weird, he was "The weird") who knows how to open the various gates that bar the way. Gradually their numbers are whittled down to just a couple by the time they reach the final door. Which doesn't bother Curtis much, since he isn't acting out of any desire to redistribute the wealth or anything like that. He despises the man who built the train, despises the way things are run, and desires only to confront him. I legitimately didn't know whether he'd get there or not. I didn't think he'd die early in the film, but near the end, unfulfilled? Sure, it was in play. Reach a door he couldn't bypass, be pulled down by someone on his side, furious that this is all Curtis was after. Or find out Wilford was dead, had been for years, the system was running as it did on inertia.

The ending was odd to me. I'm not sure I'm meant to take it as I did, but it certainly felt like it was arguing for burning everything down and hoping a few good people survive to try again. Except it seems more likely humanity's last act was going to be feeding a bear.

Let's see, what else. Ed Harris is in this. It's impressive to me that I almost always like Ed Harris, but he's very good at playing characters I root against in spite of this. Like I enjoyed Alan Rickman's work, but he was best suited to playing people you wanted to hate. But Harris has this extremely reasonable, friendly deliver that makes him likeable. I usually want to like his characters, but he's very good at not letting me. I wasn't expecting to see Kang-ho Song, that was a pleasant surprise. If I'd known he was in this, I'd have watched it from the beginning. I only got to see a few things with his character, enough to intrigue me.

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