Joon-ho Bong's Snowpiercer is a dazzling amalgam of cinematic styles and sensibilities. Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer takes place in the near future, after an attempt to reverse global warming freezes most of the life on the planet. Survivors are holed up in various compartments on a perpetual, high-speed train that traverses the globe. The further you move from the rear of the train forward, the greater the splendor of your life. The unwashed hordes in the rear car stage a rebellion under the leadership of grimey idealist Curtis (Chris Evans of Captain America), his idolizing buddy Edgar (Jamie Bell of Jumper) and their aged leader Gilliam (John Hurt) and aided by the intrepid Tanya (Octavia Spencer) and the ginger-headed Andrew (Ewen Bremner). They know they must fight their way to the engine room and wrest control from the train's builder, Mr. Wilford, who undoubtedly would resist the coup. To get the ball rolling, they must enlist the help of "hibernating" junkie / designer Minsoo (Korean actor Kang-ho Song) who will only work if he's supplied with chemical incentives. Once the revolution begins, blood flows and the body count mounts in a most surreal fashion. Bong is best known to me as the director of a fresh and fantastic monster movie from 2006, The Host, which also was an environmental cautionary tale. Like that film, Snowpiercer is a blend of terror and humor, which often works but occasionally is too broad and throws off the tenor of the film. Tilda Swinton, who enhances every film she's in, is marvelous as Wilford's officious spokeswoman Mason, sent to suppress the uprising. This hyper-violent affair is recommended, but is not for the squeamish or those who are averse to moral ambiguity.


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