From the beginning of “Snowpiercer” to the end, director Joon-ho Bong shows his audience a microcosm of society in the tradition of Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm”. After a human-induced second ice age destroys nearly all of the planet, what is left of the human race is forced to exist aboard a train designed with with it’s own self-sustaining environment. Traveling around the globe exactly once every year, the train is a front to back (or back to front) representation of the evolution of civilization starting with simple sciences and low quality of life and ending in hedonism and downfall.
Most average movie goers who are looking for a hero based action film will get plenty of it with Chris Evans (Captain America, Fantastic Four) playing the lead role of Curtis. He and a few others from the less privileged “Lower class” in the back car of the train decide they have had enough of the “Upper class” enforcing their laws and regulations on them. The revolution begins, and what follows is the classic struggle between the poor and high society acted out in sometimes brutal violence.
I always find sci-fi allegories to be very hit or miss with many of them being too over the top. “Snowpiercer is not without it’s “Huh?” moments. The viewer is asked to suspend disbelief a time or two, but in the end it is an affecting story with powerful symbolism that works.