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Courtesy of Snowpiercer website
A warning about the perils of climate change? An action vehicle for Chris Evans of Captain America fame to kick some more ass in a less polished outfit? An anti-capitalist tale of the proletariat revolution? Or perhaps a religious allegory? Snowpiercer is all of those and so much more—and definitely worth the price of admission, if you're lucky enough to live near a theater where it happens to be showing. Yes, it's a sci-fi action film, but it is one of the most purely exciting, compelling and thought-provoking cinematic experiences I've had in recent memory.

As the film opens, we are informed that in response to the threat of global warming, countries around the world came together to release a cooling substance into the atmosphere in the hopes of stabilizing it. Unfortunately, they overdid it, and send the entire planet into a snow-covered deep freeze that has apparently extincted all life on Earth. Except for those aboard the Snowpiercer, a luxury liner train with a perpetual motion engine traversing a circle around the globe.

(More about Snowpiercer below the fold.)

This train, however, is not equal opportunity: while those wealthy enough to get a first-class ticket live in the lap of luxury in the last habitable place on the planet, the masses live in overcrowded squalor and filth in the train's rear cars—subsisting their entire lives on gelatinous protein bars of unknown provenance and being brutally oppressed by soldiers under the command of Wilford, the enigmatic captain of the train of state. When two children from the rear cars are seized for unknown reasons in an infrequent and yet routine occurrence, the second-class proletariat finally decides it has had enough, and the revolution is on.

To lead them, they turn to Curtis, a reluctant anti-hero played very well by Evans in a role that demands more depth, complexity and makeup than did his stints throwing a shield at Nazis. After enlisting the services of the drug-addled man who can unlock the doors between the cars, the revolution gets going. The objective? Fight, car by car, seat by seat, to the front of the train for a final confrontation with Wilford.

If that sounds like a video game setup, you're not wrong. The narrative arc of the movie definitely has that feel: the cars of the train resemble video game stages with each presenting a different challenge, some physical and some cerebral, with sub-bosses and character development piling up along the way until the showdown in car one. But the way the cinematography, directing and narrative take advantage of the seemingly confined opportunity is nothing short of astonishing.

To begin with, the action pieces feature creative, though not laughable, setups that resemble a combination of Tarantino's work in Kill Bill and that of the Wachowski siblings from The Matrix, but without going at all overboard. There are gunfights, hand-to-hand sequences, and one particularly brutal battle featuring two small armies in the confined space of a train car using nothing but edged weapons. In other words, if you could care less about cerebral elements and are just interested in memorable action sequences, this film delivers in an intense way. But even more impressive are the beautiful and creative visual elements in some of the luxury cars. I was particularly stunned by the aquarium car and the nightclub car, and the interspersing of these scenes provide some temporary relief for what is otherwise an unrelenting push toward the front of the train.

Eventually, of course, Curtis gets his final showdown with Wilford, but it isn't what you'd expect. It's bad form to spoil the big reveals in a film review, but the conclusion will challenges the traditional good-versus-evil dualism of the traditional action genre and superimposes a viewpoint that would intrigue those familiar with Eastern religious and philosophical themes. It's a beautiful exploration of how the spirit of capitalism intersects not just with Western ideas like Calvinism, but also the traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Either way, your only disappointment will be that Ed Harris' gripping and charismatic depiction of Wilford gets so comparatively little screen time.

In conclusion: it doesn't matter why you go see movies. Snowpiercer will leave you satisfied and thinking about the nature of capitalism and revolution. Highly recommended.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I watched this movie just the other week (12+ / 0-)

    In order to enjoy it you must first suspend disbelief.
      In other words, you can't ask "The world ends, but this train keeps rolling? Really?"

      And that is merely the first disbelief you have to suspend.

     But if you can do that, then you can enjoy this movie.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:17:29 PM PDT

    •  Obviously suspend disbelief (0+ / 0-)

      Reminds  me of the movie Mad Max. I watched the first couple minutes and turned it off. The apocalypse comes, the world is ending, and all we care about is getting gasoline to drive around between the remnants of civilization?

      The premise of this movie (Snowpiercer) is exactly my fear of climate change activism. We can't manage the economy of a small nation, yet people want to try to modify the climate of the whole world without really understanding all the variables. We're much more likely to make a mess of it than improve things.

      •  Mad Max is easy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        banjolele, nextstep

        to accept compared to Snowpiercer.

        "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

        by gjohnsit on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 10:35:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh yes (0+ / 0-)

          It's so much easier to accept the idea of Australian men walking around with kabuki mask headresses and Tina Turner in a chain mail dress.  So realistic.

          (and yes, I loved the Mad Max movies - but come on, they're action flicks with a bit of an apocalyptic edge, not parables about the current economic system).

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:49:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Its not that different (0+ / 0-)

          During the last ice age global populations crashed until humanity almost went extinct. We hunted and gathered our way out of that catastrophe

          Mad Max and the Road Warriors hunted and gathered gasoline. Here what is hunted and gathered are the products of gasoline in the Hispanic slang sense.

          "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

          by rktect on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:56:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So very, very true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subterranean

      You pretty much have to shut your brain off to really enjoy this movie. So many dumb and illogical and impossible things happen. But oh my goodness does it look good. The cinematography for this film is top notch. Acting is pretty good as well.

      Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

      by moviemeister76 on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 11:40:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a parable, not intended to be realistic. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne, Carol in San Antonio, Ellid

        The engine is a perpetual motion machine, for chrissake.
        Don't you also have to "shut your brain off" to enjoy The Avengers or Hunger Games? They're fantasies too.  

        At least Snowpiercer is an intellectually coherent parable. It takes a Gramscian view of the revolutionary process, showing how revolutions get co-opted and sometimes end up reinforcing the old regime (recall Visconti's The Leopard: "Things Must Change in Order for Them to Remain the Same.")

        I greatly enjoyed Snowpiercer, and Tilda Swinton's performance is wonderful.

        •  You're barking up the wrong tree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dfarrah, TerryDarc, Subterranean

          I am a huge fan of dumb apocalyptic/disaster films. I also love several dumb action films. I didn't care about the science as it was quite obvious that that part wasn't important.

          I was referring to the decisions the individual characters made, not to mention some of the decisions the screenwriter made in terms of how certain things played out. Pretty much every single character was a moron who made stupid decisions.  And considering the fact that the film was clearly trying very hard to be more than just a dumb action film, it made the fact that everyone in it behaved like they were morons more difficult to take.

          Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:59:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The fact that Curtis and Edgar turn out to have (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Carol in San Antonio, Ellid

            been duped is essential to the story (the co-optation and betrayal of revolutions); if you want to dismiss them as "moronic," fine-- maybe you need infallible superheroes and happy endings in your movies. Snowpiercer's refusal to give us infallible superheroes is one of the things I found refreshingly different about this movie.
             

            •  I could not agree with you more (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LanceBoyle

              The decision making process considers past actions and results, modifies the strategy and then ruthlessly proceeds to take action according to a level of desperation that we don't really discover until the end of the film.

              Whats sad and tragic may also provide opportunities for self sacrifice and the setting of a better example, or in the end it may all come to not if we can't learn to share things.

              People in the story are not so much making the wrong decisions for the right reasons as they are perpetuating a runaway train scenario where we just keep going around and around the same important seeming things in the short term while ignoring the most important long range consequences.

              One thing that is emphasized is that people can be programmed to do as they are told with the right combination of positive and negative sanctions up to the point where if you ain't got nothing you got nothing to lose.

              "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

              by rktect on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:08:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Snowpiercer allegory: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rktect, Ellid

                We are locked into a highly artificial and increasingly overstressed and vulnerable environment, entirely dependent upon it for survival; it circles around endlessly, providing the illusion of forward movement but never reaching any destination. We are warned that our survival depends on keeping to our places and gratefully revering the superior wisdom and benevolence of the Great Engineer who assigned us our places. Meanwhile more and more suffering and indignity is heaped upon us. Finally the most oppressed of us quite understandably revolt, thinking that we can improve everything by seizing control of the engine. But most of us perish during the revolt, and the few who reach the engine discover that they've been manipulated, that their revolt was "allowed" in order to let off pressure on the system and select new leaders to serve the engine, so that the train can continue to circle endlessly.

                If that isn't a good metaphor for the present American condition, I don't know a better one.

                Perhaps some dislike Snowpiercer because it is a pessimistic dystopia, like Orwell's 1984. We sympathize entirely with Winston Smith's revolt and find it morally justifiable, but are shocked when he fails, embraces collaboration, and learns to love Big Brother. Orwell said that his inspiration was the image of a jackboot stomping on a human face, over and over forever.

                •  I'd like to think that we can instantly grasp (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LanceBoyle

                  everything that was thought of by the film maker in presenting this modern morality tales phenomenology  from the save the planet mobile dangling from the rear view mirror, to the fate of polar bears but there really is a lot to think about.

                  In particular the role of children and the idea of opening the doors to compartments we might better have left shut except there is no choice but to move forward and think about that whatever the cost.

                  "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                  by rktect on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 05:43:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I could not disagree with you more (0+ / 0-)

            shrugs

            Clearly, YMMV in this case.

            This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

            by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:51:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  This movie asks you to think not shut your brain (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid

          We live on a perpetual motion machine. We call it the earth, the movie calls it the train. There isn't room for a lot of people on the train, but everyone who didn't make it into one of the compartments that survived the death of the cities is dead. If you want to live there are going to be some sacrifices required of you.

          Take a slice of humanity surviving a global catastrophe, a population crash from billions to thousands.

          The catastrophe trigger might be global warming but part of the problem is the avalanche of additional problems that will come from natural causes.

          You could just list them all but that get's mind numbing so to get your attention, lets think about which side you fall on.

          Would you  be all about your own personal survival and the survival of friends and family, or the survival of humanity, or just want to get you some payback? Would you choose to go to the front of the car where you might save yourself, or the back where you could help others, or just want to clear a path to the front so others could follow no matter what the cost?

          In a sense its a video game. Do you choose to heal or inflict damage or act like a tank and draw all the destruction to yourself?

          Whichever way you choose to go how far would you go to help and encourage others to get to the front of the train where the decision makers are and a possible solution lies. What would you be willing to sacrifice yourself personally to lead by example?

          Let's allow most of us would allow others to sacrifice for us. People like soldiers and cops are expected to wade into carnage that costs lives and risks body parts they may miss later on, to put those things on the line for us if that's what it takes for us to survive. What about when it comes our turn, or perhaps our children's turn to become a part of the machinery of life and death.

          Would you accept violent revolution that kills other people on the train as an alternative to most of the compartments on the train just running out of everything it takes to sustain life if your analogy for the compartments were nations and for the train the planet we live on?

          At the back of the train the compartments that are running out of everything can look at the people they encounter coming from the front of the train and though most are guards, soldiers, or administrators they are all apparently healthy and clean, wearing uniforms rather than rags and well equipped with guns. They have water to wash with let alone water to drink.

          From time to time the children and old people who can play the violin or serve some useful purpose get taken from the back to the front, maybe life is good for them there, better than what it is for you, do you really want to upset the apple cart if your living with less means they can have it good?

          Obviously the penalties for even thinking about rebellion are harsh. The living conditions are worse than refugee camps and the Gaza strip.

          The dying conditions are worse than Indian reservations and life for the people who we watch starve to death in Ethiopia, and Darfur, the Sudan and never lift a finger to save them or for that matter just some of their children.

          We can't think about that because we have our own problems.

          The desperation is worse than Ruwanda and the Balkins, worse even than Iraq and Afghanistan, worse than the camps we put Japanese in during WWII, or the camps the Germans put Gypsies and Jews in.

          In those conditions would you cheer a plan to escape even if you were the last people on Earth, there was nowhere else to go, and it was almost certain most of you wouldn't make it?

          How would you feel about your soldiers in those circumstances, your mad berserker's, the idealists who would willingly sacrifice their own lives and bodies to make a difference. The people leaving the front of the train to go to the back to try and keep things orderly and peaceful and stable.

          Where's the honor in killing guards?

          What if getting past all the morality play complications the best and the brightest among you, the ones you cherished above all others were going to have to die in droves to make your plan work?

          Everybody dies right? Its inevitable? When your ship sinks far out at sea do you go down with it or keep swimming a little longer to maybe help somebody else survive?

          Does all that stuff make you have to shut your brain off?

          "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

          by rktect on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 04:12:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excellent analysis (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rktect

            I really would have liked to have a conversation about this with people like you after seeing the movie.

            I wanted to hear what other people thought.
            I wrote about my questions here.

            •  Both you and your commentors were thoughtful (0+ / 0-)

              Its really hard to talk about the movie in a way that doesn't become a spoiler. Perhaps that is the best reason to go find it and see it.

              As for Ayn Rand, discussing her is topical because of Paul Ryan. I have read the books and seen the movies that try to tell the story of the books such as Fountainhead.

              For me the makers are the civilizations of landfolk that collectively built the souks, agoras and markets and the roads, cities and bridges to get to them and the civilizations of sea people who gave us international commerce and piracy.

              When we look at the founding fathers of America they were smugglers, slavers, land speculators, ex military officers looking for a war, pirates and privateers.

              You could look at the leaders of the civilizations as the Fountainhead, the architect, the source of the plan that makes everything work.

              As the man with the plan you could look at the guy who builds the railroad, lays the track, builds the railroad bridges and makes the trains run on time.

              You could also look at the dirty unwashed stinking mob of breeders in the back who occasionally come up with a different plan.

              For that difference red or blue you can go see "the Matrix".

              Snowpiercer takes the position that seven billion people living now on top of all the hundred and twenty five billion people who passed before us are a collection of snowflake like the many individual particles of infinite complexity that collectively can act like and be a raging storm or an avalanche that comes after the storm is all over.

              "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

              by rktect on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:19:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  nice--this could be a separate diary (0+ / 0-)

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:59:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's One Thing To Ask Us To "Suspend Disbelief"... (0+ / 0-)

      ....it's something else to ask us to hang disbelief by the neck until dead, which is what this premise is doing.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 02:25:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "All past revolutions have failed ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellid

      ... because they couldn't take the engine"

      I think the point being driven home is that the train represents our world isolated into separate compartments, or nations; some nations rich, some poor. Some at the front of the line get everything while those left behind get nothing and have to make due.

      Revolutions fail because they are focused on a lot of people giving their lives and a considerable part of themselves to achieve a redistribution of wealth.

      The truth of the matter is we could all have a lot more if we were willing to sacrifice the weak, babies first.

      If we institute global population control is some form other than holocausts and wars that use weapons of mass destruction to destroy cities and find some sort of balance, a world in which we all agree to share what we have rather than fight over it controlling our emissions would be easier.

      When we are done destroying everything perhaps there will be some survivors but there lives are likely to be brutish, nasty and short.

      "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

      by rktect on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:52:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's getting great reviews (8+ / 0-)

    When I read your initial description it sounded really corny.

    But...

    94% on Rotten Tomatoes - that's REALLY STRONG
    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/...

    NY Times review:
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    I'm going to hunt this down and catch it in a theater.

    Thanks

  •  I'll probably like it... but... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unclebucky, atana, dinotrac, dallasdunlap

    It really bugs me that writers feel compelled to write technobable word salad explanations for things that don't really need them.

    As the film opens, we are informed that in response to the threat of global warming, countries around the world came together to release a cooling substance into the atmosphere in the hopes of stabilizing it. Unfortunately, they overdid it, and send the entire planet into a snow-covered deep freeze that has apparently extincted all life on Earth. Except for those aboard the Snowpiercer, a luxury liner train with a perpetual motion engine traversing a circle around the globe.
    This premise is so chocked full of face-palmingly unscientific woo, I think it might rise the the level of a hate-crime.

    Seriously, at this point you might as well make it silicone-based cephalopods from Titan. Or better yet, just skip it all together and show not tell.

    Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:27:04 PM PDT

    •  It's based on a French graphic novel (14+ / 0-)

      And, like most good science fiction, it's as much allegory as anything else.  

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:35:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  most good science fiction (7+ / 0-)

        is based on scientific ideas.

        •  Both kinds of sf exist (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid, chmood, Ahianne

          and good sf has come of both approaches.

        •  No, most good HARD science fiction (5+ / 0-)

          is based on scientific ideas.  

          This is not hard science fiction any more than The Time Machine is hard science fiction.  Writers have been hand waving the science for over a century, and they still do it.  This is no different from John Scalzi having a human/sheep hybrid in The Android's Dream.

          Good heavens.

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:35:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good sci fi extrapolates (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ellid

            from what are the basic scientific facts (global warming and climate change) to ask the question how can rich nations and poor nations learn to break out of that compartmentalization that excludes immigrants from sharing our American wealth;

            Bottom line is we all live on the same train. We call it a planet, planet Earth. It orbits the sun, the sun orbits the galaxy, round and round we go day after day, month after month year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation, nothing ever changes and then one day we wake up and find we are going off the rails and a crash is inevitable.

            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

            by rktect on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:16:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Good SF -incorporates- scientific consistency (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne

          most SF that is "based on scientific ideas" are actually pretty uninteresting (developed with an understanding of science and consistency is different), because interesting stories are about people and ideas:  FTL and time-travel, immortality, real artificial intelligence, usw, are vehicles for transcending the KNOWN to create novel circumstances in which human fallibility, frailty and novelty can play themselves out against a conceivable UNKNOWN.

          SF is at its most useful and entertaining when it tries to make room for what is NOT known:  try Doc Smith's "Spacehounds of the IPC" or Campbell's "Islands of Space" as examples of the latter, and Clarke's "2001" or van Vogt's "Weapon Shops of Isher" as examples of the latter.

          You'd think by now at least my half-a-brain would get the message
          Crawling, crawling, crawling from the wreckage, into a brand new life...

          by chmood on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:24:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  qwatz (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevemb

          i think most sci fans want "semi plausible mumbo jumbo" rather than scientific / technological nonsense which makes it difficult to suspend disbelief.

          in the matrix, the concept is that humans are used to generate electricity.  Why not use electric eels?

          couldn't they make something here that is not so difficult to believe?

          i will probably watch it over amazon instant video.

    •  I thought the description was absolutely hilarious (7+ / 0-)

      Sounds like an awesome premise.

      Just goes to show, when it comes to stories and art a lot just comes down to a matter of taste.  Different strokes for different folks, indeed.

    •  Just see it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      My heroes have the heart to live the life I want to live.

      by JLFinch on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 12:51:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes see it first (0+ / 0-)

        Then give it some thought. Think about it as you might a parable or an analogous situation in the real world with real choices.

        Ask your self where would you choose to be.

        Would you put your self at the front of the train with every luxury and responsibility for everyone else? Would you move a little farther back, avoid the responsibility, have a nice quiet life.

        Would you go to the back, to the rear of the train, be willing to put your life on the line as a soldier or a guard while others live lives of apparent normalcy or even debauch?

        Would you give up everything so they get to make choices, have whatever they think is a better life or if they prefer a wasted one?

        Can you imagine earning the right to just get wasted?

        If you are already at the back, at the end of the line, do you have any choice but to try and move forward.

        What's the role of children in the future. Are they worth saving so they can save our humanity, will they make a difference with their lives or will they just grow up to be takers like us?

        "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

        by rktect on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 04:34:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The beef I have with this movie (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenPA, congenitalefty, Ahianne, stevemb

    is like so much pop sci-fi there is this leveraging of "science is evil/wrong/amoral/not to be trusted/insert your base fear here."

    a) Scientists wiped out all life on earth.  One could have written a nearly identical plot where inaction is the cause of global disaster - why bad/scary/misunderstood/boogieman science?

    b) Without giving anything away, the "core" of the perpetual motion engine.  I'll leave this one without further comment due to spoiler risk.

    Other than the Science-Hate, I largely agree with the rest of your review.

    The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% agree they are.

    by GreatLakeSailor on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:28:10 PM PDT

  •  Ellid's review (10+ / 0-)

    Ellid just posted a review that is worth a read.

  •  Oh my God, I JUST posted a diary about this!!!!! (11+ / 0-)

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:28:29 PM PDT

  •  I saw this movie last week, and it was excellent. (6+ / 0-)

    It was playing at the Spectrum in Albany, NY.  

    Evans was great as the leader of the revolutionaries, but two other characters stood out for me.  The "obi-wan" played by John Hurt, and especially Octavia Spencer who plays one of the revolutionaries, a woman named Tanya who joins the fight in the hope of finding her son.  

  •  I thought the movie was junk. (7+ / 0-)

    I got about 10 minutes into the movie before I got buried in cliche.  I stopped caring almost immediately.

    •  I thought it was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unclebucky, dallasdunlap

      a pos.  So boring.  I told people not to go see it.

      Same with Obvious Child.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:33:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  YMMV, obviously (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, Aunt Pat

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:36:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I got that just from the trailer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dallasdunlap

      Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry took on such themes much better.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 10:18:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  RODDENBERRY????? (0+ / 0-)

        Oh, for crying out loud - !!!!!!!  

        Gene Roddenberry didn't write anything that was even close to this, and before you start waving Star Trek at me, I was watching that show forty years ago.  I all but memorized all the episodes, and sorry, the reason that show worked as well as it did (at least for the first two years) was because a) Robert Justman was a great showrunner, b) Dorothy Fontana was a great script writer and doctor, and c) the cream of American SF authors wrote the bulk of the story treatments and scripts for 2/3 of the series.  Once Justman and Fontana left, and Roddenberry turned the show over to Fred Freiburger, it was terrible - remember "Spock's Brain"?  "The Paradise Syndrome"?  "Turnabout Intruder"?  

        And before you start talking about Roddenberry's other projects - I watched all of those, too.  NONE of them, not one, came within spitting distance of Snowpiercer in terms of acting, casting, cinematography, worldbuilding, or anything else - you're seriously comparing "Earth II" to this?  "Spectre"?  "The Questor Tapes"?  

        Good God.

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:03:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, NotGeorgeWill, Aunt Pat, ichibon

    ...looking forward to this one for awhile. But in south florida it was only playing in some small cinema in Miami! There is like 26 screens in Boca Raton and they can't find one for this movie?! Then one night I'm going through the channel guide on my cable and there is Snowpiecer to buy or rent! What the hell is going on here? I want to see this one on the big screen!!! Back to the 26 screens, do they really need to show Transformers on 4 screens in one theater?

    •  It's available on iTunes and Amazon.com (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx, NotGeorgeWill, Aunt Pat

      Normally I despise Amazon.com, but if you have any account, you can get it there.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:36:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is where I watched it. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JLFinch, Ellid

        I really liked it. I'm still thinking about bits of it, days later.

        •  Same here. I simply can't get it out of my head. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CenPhx

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 08:10:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you ever see District 9? nt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slapshoe, dinotrac

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 08:33:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't have high expectations. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ichibon, Ellid, Ahianne

            I wasn't too excited about watching another dystopian, dark, oppressing movie. But I am really glad I didn't give into that feeling.

            At first I thought many of the characters fit a trope I had seen before, but the acting was so nuanced, I soon started to feel like each character was an ice berg - there was more happening under the surface than I saw or understood at first. And that feeling was right - none of the characters stayed in the easy box in which I had placed them at the beginning.

            I quickly had started rooting for the back passengers to "win", but it wasn't long before I wasn't sure what "winning" meant or whether they should go on.

            And that is aside from some of the beauty of the cinematography, which makes me want to watch it again.

            •  The fight in the tunnel (0+ / 0-)

              is both horrifying and beautiful, and the "Olympic torch run" was stunning.

              This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

              by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:36:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Plato talks about a torch race on horseback (0+ / 0-)

                As an analogy for academia where ideas come in a rush and then its over with all that matters being were there winners and losers, or was there more to it than that.

                The violence begins with the thought that one should not open that compartment, not go there, just leave it be and stay safe.

                Does there come a point when its not enough to choose to stay safe? Does the filmmaker have to make that choice.

                Is surviving the choice at least partly about the planning that makes a risky think on your feet decision making process feasible, given a bit of luck and some careful execution.

                I like the idea that violence can be something which helps us advance ourselves as human beings;  helps to move us forward out of an orderly box or compartment with no solutions to our being at the bottom, not even good diplomatic ones, into a new world order better designed for stability.

                Its Jeffersonian Democracy at its finest.

                In warfighting there is planning and preparation, but its the in the moment attack and counterattack on our decision making process, that becomes the thing that helps us learn that what we know is what we do.

                "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                by rktect on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 04:55:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Why are things like Snowpiercer showing up on (0+ / 0-)

        Amazon and Itunes? A good 1st run movie ought to have a run in the theaters first, no? Or is this the new normal?

        Yeah, $6.99 to rent on A'zon - 3.5*'s.

        Every human being has paid the earth to grow up. Most people don’t grow up. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth.—Maya Angelou

        by TerryDarc on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:47:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because the distributor is deliberately trying (0+ / 0-)

          to spike the film.  Harvey Weinstein bought the English-language rights before he saw the final cut, and tried to bully the director into cutting 20 minutes and adding a voiceover.  The director refused, and after a long, ugly fight Weinstein agreed to a very limited American release and an almost immediate release on VOD.   I don't think it's any coincidence that Snowpiercer opened opposite Transformers 4.

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:05:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps not (0+ / 0-)

            Perhaps somebody thought this was an important enough film that they wanted people to see it and talk about it even if it cost them an arm and a leg to forgo the big box office smash.

            Its not the sort of film that gets you all excited and then a few moments later its gone from your consciousness like Chinese food.

            Some of the dialog will stay with you until you find yourself in that situation.

            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

            by rktect on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 04:59:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Its online free no ads no downloads n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

      by rktect on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:52:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Naw. Pass. Ugh. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:35:04 PM PDT

  •  Spoiler - there IS NO perpetual motion machine... (0+ / 0-)

    Such a thing doesn't exist.

    Ugh. --UB.

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 07:37:33 PM PDT

    •  What about the Rolling Stones? (6+ / 0-)

      Don't they qualify?

      •  No. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx, Capt Crunch, Sharoney

        Friction is already slowing them down.

        •  What about the motion of the spheres (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Garrett

          Like the train in the story our planet has an orbit, a track it just continues following. Earth orbits its sun sweeping out an ellipse of half a billion miles in a year. Meanwhile the moon orbits the earth. The sun and other planets orbit the Galaxy even as the universe expands perpetually.

          What sort of chance natural phenomena might fall on us out of the blue and wipe out all chance of survival of the consequences of whatever seemed a terrible tragedy up to that point?

          We know we are headed for a collision with Andromeda but if dancing with another galaxy isn't bad enough because space is full of space, consider the suns in the galaxies as merely a point reference for their ort clouds.

          Interplanetary dust like a collection of tiny snowflakes can make nebula glow in ways you might find more violent close up.

          "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

          by rktect on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 05:13:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's not all! (18+ / 0-)

      There's no such thing as light sabers or gorillas as tall as the Empire State Building or a man from another planet who has the power to fly when he is on Earth.

      Also, we can't make dinosaurs from DNA found in amber or put our consciousness in giant blue cat avatars on a foreign planet and no one has found the Ark of the Covenant.

      Yeah. Movies are stupid.

    •  And? It's an allegory disguised as science fictio (8+ / 0-)

      And by the end it's clear that the train is NOT a perpetual motion machine.  The proles on the tail cars are TOLD this, but it's not true.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 08:11:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The train itself is, in some ways, irrelevant (11+ / 0-)

        They could be stuck in a huge, multilevel under ground bunker after a nuclear apocalypse. They could be in a giant ark like boat floating on the ocean after global warming melts all the ice, a la Waterworld. They could be on a spaceship version of an ark like in Pandorum.

        The point is that they are trapped somewhere together after some sort of extinction event and they are trapped together. What happens to people in that situation? What do human beings do to one another after the apocalypse?

        So the fact that they are in a perpetual motion train is a detail not important enough to the heart of the story for me to care about, overly much. What matters are the people and the choices they make and what they do to each other.

        •  The train is a macguffin really (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid, CenPhx, Ahianne

          My heroes have the heart to live the life I want to live.

          by JLFinch on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 01:00:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But if you're going to use one, shouldn't it make (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TayTay, TerryDarc, stevemb

            at least a tiny bit of sense?

            Let's see:

            All of humanity is left on a train.
            Which runs on track.
            Which must be maintained -- especially for a high-speed train.

            Maintained by --- ?

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 02:40:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And it's NOT being maintained (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dinotrac, Ahianne

              Which is why the train (and the track) is deteriorating.  They show this on-screen (remember the scenes where the passengers are told to brace for impact as the train blasts through the debris on the track?).

              This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

              by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:41:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  MacGuffin defined (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ahianne

                Hitchcock coined the term and means closer to the 1st defn. below. Maybe a train running through a snow tunnel would qualify for #2. Listening to Hitch talk about his term, it would not.

                In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot. The most common type of MacGuffin is an object, place or person; other, more abstract types include money, victory, glory, survival, power, love, or some unexplained driving force.
                Broader use
                Some dictionary definitions are even more vague and generalized. For example, Princeton's WordNet defines a MacGuffin as simply "a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction", which could refer to nearly anything at all in a story, given that audience-member attention is not reliably predictable.

                Every human being has paid the earth to grow up. Most people don’t grow up. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth.—Maya Angelou

                by TerryDarc on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:54:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  It's not irrelevant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid

          There are several key moments where people inside the train look outside at the world that exists and it travels around. You can't get that feeling on a boat and certainly not in a bunker.

          "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." - Stephen Colbert

          by Rob Dapore on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:37:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  heh, I was just reading a doomer website that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne

        sounds similar, they said we are doomed in 50 years and south america will last 10 years long than northern hemisphere, like an upside down...'On the Beach'

        Their only recommendation is to apply hydroxl aerosols and use HAARP and chemtrails and on and on..

        so look for the screen version soon :>

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 01:47:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Its an analogy (0+ / 0-)

      The train is the world we live on. It orbits our sun as a virtual perpetual motion machine with a bunch of compartmentalized nations; some rich some poor.

      The poor seek access to the compartments of the rich but when they get to the US or European border; after their immigration across country after country, with some young kids risking everything, robbery, rape, starvation, heat exhaustion, death to get here, that's where they run into a brutal system that isn't going to let them complete their journey without giving up a lot more.

      "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

      by rktect on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:03:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm gonna catch this tomorrow. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, BusyinCA

    I've heard about this for a few weeks and have heard some good buzz.  Looks like this is probably going to be out of the theaters in my area in another week or so -- a handful of theaters are still showing it, but most only have one or two showings a day.

    Thanks for the review!

  •  It's on cable VOD and ITunes already n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, JLFinch, Rob Dapore, TerryDarc

    This is the most significant shift on platform release so far on VOD. You can see it at home.

    For the record, I think it is terrific (saw it at an LA press screening a few weeks ago).

  •  What bothers me the most (5+ / 0-)

    is that nobody is even blinking at the graphic, overdone beyond making the point, going on and on and on, and on,,,in your face, gratuitous violence in this movie.

    I guess it's just a new normal now. I find that disturbing.

    And I love sci-fi and graphic novels, and was very excited about seeing this movie.

    •  I'm going to disagree a bit here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellid

      While the violence is quite extreme in this film, I thought it was actually rather different than what we normally see. Notably violent films in the past make violence look kind of cool and stylized. Snowpiercer makes the violence look stylized but absolutely uncool. It looks horrific. It looks painful and dangerous and something I never, ever want to be a part of. Ever. I've seen the film twice so far, and during the second time I had to actually turn my head away during several scenes because I couldn't bear to watch them again.

      Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

      by moviemeister76 on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 11:48:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are levels of violence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moviemeister76

        Some are more graphic than others. Close up violence is more intense than seen far away. Since the clashes take place on a train, obviously the instances of close up violence will be more frequent especially with the use of certain weapons and blood really goes everywhere. I found myself fast forwarding over some of these scenes. I can understand why they're there but I didn't need to watch it.

        "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." - Stephen Colbert

        by Rob Dapore on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:41:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually the violence was pretty normal (0+ / 0-)

          for a war after the bullets are all used up or mostly used up.

          The slasher, splatter consensual blood and cuts violence of us vs them being compared to "Kill Bill" misses the point that compared to this Kill Bill" is a love story.

          Anyway whatever violence paled compared to the revelation of what led to the violence, which was more in the us vs us category.

          That itself sort of fell in the be careful what you wish for section of going for rides with strangers.

          Now movies where the people who didn't make it on the train all died and they were the lucky ones is usually spoiled for me by some of the people being not at all for real zombies or such.

          Here they are more like the forces of law and order vs the mob, or the mob vs the forces of law and order, or why can't all these last survivors of humanity all on the same train just get along?

          War movies tend to have more of a you have to try to  understand the motivation for man's inhumanity to man aspect. Here the motivation is utterly basic.

          "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

          by rktect on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:40:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I can' t bear to watch violent scenes, (0+ / 0-)

      so thanks for your comment, which I take as a heads-up.

      Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~"The Summer Day," Mary Oliver

      by Miniaussiefan on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 05:19:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's about a revolution, a civil war. (0+ / 0-)

      Of course there's violence.

    •  I didn't find the violence gratuitous (0+ / 0-)

      Nor did I ever get the sense that the director was gleefully flinging blood at the screen.  This is not a Quentin Tarantino movie.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:03:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds great. Will check it out. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BusyinCA, Ellid

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 08:36:22 PM PDT

  •  Available cable on demand (0+ / 0-)

    I expected to like it better then I did.  It was a bit better then OK, that's all.  Best for the middle segment and Tilda Swinton.

  •  I saw this last week in a theater (4+ / 0-)

    I absolutely loved it. Amazing concept, direction, and performances from EVERYONE. I know it's available on VOD, but if you have a chance to see it in a cinema, it's a must to see it there. It's a shame this hasn't been given a much stronger release with distribution & promotion theatrically.

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.

    by stvkos on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 09:12:14 PM PDT

  •  loved loved loved this movie! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat, Ellid

    glad to see it get recommended on dkos front page!

    •  I saw it almost a week ago (0+ / 0-)

      and still can't get it out of my head.  Stunning, stunning movie, and can we please start the Oscar campaigns for Bong Joon-Ho, Kelly Masterson, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Kang-ho Song, and Octavia Spencer now?  Pretty please?

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:05:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Quite liked it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellid

    Not a life-altering movie, but highly enjoyable for what it is, whether you think of it as scifi, fable, fantasy, comic book, or a combination of all those things. It gave me a similar feeling to Brazil in some ways (not just the visuals and the actual Gilliam shout-out), and as with any movie like this, the world-building is vitally important, and they did it well (even unto the filthy, banged-up hands of the Freeloaders). I don't know that I would buy it and rewatch it as I've done with District 9, but it's still one of the better genre flicks of the last few years.

    "There you go, givin' a f*ck when it ain't your turn to give a f*ck." -- Bunk Moreland

    by slapshoe on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 10:40:59 PM PDT

  •  I just watched it on iTunes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellid

    It was sublime.  

    My heroes have the heart to live the life I want to live.

    by JLFinch on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 12:49:55 AM PDT

  •  This is a thinking-person's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nosleep4u, Ellid

    Action film

    My heroes have the heart to live the life I want to live.

    by JLFinch on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 01:01:36 AM PDT

  •  The pacing was excellent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellid, LanceBoyle

    I also applaud the director's decision to let the story of the train reveal itself as if you yourself were walking through it. Instead of a lazy lump of exposition or narrative all at the beginning.  

    My heroes have the heart to live the life I want to live.

    by JLFinch on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 01:11:00 AM PDT

    •  The increasingly luxurious cars toward the front (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne

      had me just about on the floor - a sauna?  A disco?  A "conversation pit" where everyone is drinking and snorting and fucking, and where the people are roused only when Nam takes their drugs?

      And the orangery...and the schoolroom....

      If nothing else, this has some of the best set design I've seen in years, and with the exception of the sushi tank, it was all built, not green-screened.  Chris Evans said that was the best part, acting on a built set for a change.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:08:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tilda as Ayn (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nosleep4u, LanceBoyle, TerryDarc, Ahianne

    I'm surprised no one mentioned the Ayn Rand impression Tilda Swinton put up in this movie.

    As a sci-fi movie it has a lot of holes, no doubt, but it's not that. It's an allegorical tale. These are the survivors of a post environmental catastrophe. Every main character represents someone or some class. John Hurt represents the intelligentsia that, despite a seeming allegiance to the lowest class is actually linked to the ruling class by birth and inclination -- observers of the underclass, but not a part of. Swinton is the voice of Ayn Rand. It is the engine of industry. It is the train of industrialization, unable to stop on its own. Evans is every man,  guilt ridden for what he did to survive (and what he didn't do, knowing we were careening towards disaster). The police state represented by the guy who just doesn't seem to die, out of control, even killing first class passengers. And Yona the return of the Earth mother, intuitive, psychic, from whom the re-population perhaps proceeds. Each car represents some slice of what we have, what we seem to value over the health of the planet.

    I watched it on Amazon [roku] and it is definitely worth a view. Evans is very good, by the way. This was actually released in 2013, I sense this was a re-release for theaters.

    The battle for Helms Deep is over. The battle for Middle Earth has just begun.

    by Mithrandir on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 04:54:33 AM PDT

    •  Ayn Rand and Snowpiercer? Here you go! (0+ / 0-)

      My Saturday night diary here on Daily Kos.

      Two things:

      - Tilda Swinton reportedly based her performance on Margaret Thatcher.

      - The film was released in Asia last year, where it broke box office records and was nominated for a slew of awards.  Release in America was delayed because the distributor originally wanted to cut twenty minutes of character development in favor of a voiceover so it could be marketed as "Captain America Hits People With An Axe."  The director and the cast said no, there was a huge controversy in the film community, and the distributor finally agreed to release the director's cut, but only to a handful of theaters.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:12:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ayn Rand (0+ / 0-)

      Tilda Swinton channeling Ayn Rand? I think you're spot on.

  •  Trains of Thought (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TayTay, Ellid, TerryDarc, Ahianne

    If we want to get pedantic, (and I usually do), hard science fiction is usually okay starting out with a couple of impossible premises, so long as the rest of the story follows logically from those premises.  Allegory is more loosey-goosey about that sort of stuff.  Not having seen Snowpiercer, I can't say where it lies on that continuum.

    Another take on using an allegorical train with SF accouterments is  Lejii Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999, about an incredible trip to the stars in a celestial locomotive.  (Which, now that I think about it, also involves Class Warfare of a sort)

    At one point, (if I'm remembering correctly), someone asks how a train could travel through space.  He gets the answer that the builders had become so technologically advanced that they could build a spaceship in any shape they wanted; so why not make something classy?

    Keep in mind that this story also features guest appearances by a recurring character of Matsumoto's, the space pirate Captain Harlock, who travels the cosmos in a 17th Century pirate ship.

    Galaxy Express was itself inspired by an earlier novel by Kenji Miyazawa titled Night on the Galactic Railway

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

    by quarkstomper on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 05:33:20 AM PDT

  •  It was not my cup of tea. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah

    I made it through about twenty minutes of the movie before the cliches just piled up too high for me.  I found the premise interesting, but the script just fell into stereotypes instead of characters.

    My son, daughter and husband liked the movie. I started reading a book twenty minutes after my husband queued this up. So, wide YMMV on this one.

    •  And every one of those stereotypes was reversed (0+ / 0-)

      by the end of the film.  Every single one.  

      No lie.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:14:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My husband liked it thru to the end (0+ / 0-)

        I just did not find enough to sustain my interest to get me to the end.  

        Other family members, whose opinions I respect, liked the movie. That's fine. Sometimes things that work in movies or fiction for some just don't work for others.

        SPOILER ALERT ---- plot point

        I couldn't get past a lot of the setup for the class structure. I simply could not buy the premise that anyone could survive a child seizure in that small a space. There was NO upside trade off to the loss of a child. The entire plot collapsed at this point for me.  YMMV, obviously

      •  No they weren't. (0+ / 0-)

        And at the end we got treated to long, boring, poorly acted soliloquies.  Really almost insufferable.

        But everyone has their own tastes and impressions.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:49:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I bought a digital copy from Amazon, (0+ / 0-)

    started watching it, then turned it off. It was dreary and heavy handed.
      Maybe I'll finish it some day when I really don't have anything better to do.

  •  Maybe in the future they say "extincted", (0+ / 0-)

    but back here in the 21st Century we still say "extinguished".

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:25:03 AM PDT

  •  Gelatinous protein bars are People! (0+ / 0-)

    For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?'' ...

    by QuaintIrene on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:27:39 AM PDT

    •  "No, you're eating THIS" (0+ / 0-)

      is probably my favorite line in the whole thing.

      Also, I desperately want to know if they used coffee, chocolate, or simply food coloring in the ones the actors actually ate on-camera.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:09:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Meh. A male doomer fantasy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TayTay

    Fighting! Weapons! Speed!

    And I didn't understand the problem with the protein bars. But I eat a lot of tofu and I'd be fine with that source material for something similar. In fact, I know folks are working on that right now.

    What will happen the next time the mob comes?--Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by mem from somerville on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:30:07 AM PDT

    •  Uh...SPOILER.... (0+ / 0-)

      They're made from cockroaches.   That's explicitly shown on screen, in the scene where Curtis looks into the cooking mechanism.  That's why he nearly throws up.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:10:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Geeze... (0+ / 0-)

    You all are giving this "movie" much more attention than it deserves.

  •  Pretty and well-paced, but... (0+ / 0-)

    you'll need to pierce a big drift of cliche to get through it.

  •  Snowpiercer... (0+ / 0-)

    Few quick points of order.  As a movie, it was great fun.  Its violence, albeit stylized, struck me as quite necessary.  Its theme was useful: the train is the last bastion of earth, and population control on it is meted out by design rather than by fortune or misfortune (and that rationale is not treated as undilutedly evil).  However, where the losses are supposed to occur makes far less sense.  Those who consume least are required to suffer most--but the number of "tail" residents doesn't seem all that greater than that of the more privileged, better-fed "head" residents. Shrinking the former population, even dramatically, doesn't suggest much of a payoff, reflecting a  lack of logic in what is already the creepy logic of necessity in a closed ecosystem built on class-based eugenics.  

    Moreover, the implied class system is intended to reflect the evil of "instrumentalist" systems of social organization (think Plato's Republic): every person has her place and purpose, akin to a mechanical device, like a train.  Of course, a perpetual motion machine, like the train in Snowpiercer, is a myth of physics; by analogy so is the idea of a society build in such a manner. However, weirder is the fact that the tail section comprising these plebes don't actually seem to have a real function other than that of, well, existing (and perhaps producing the children who supply the head of the train--although those seem few and far between).  Unlike The Matrix, where lots of bodies are needed to fuel with their brains the matrix itself, the tail residents--as far as I could determine--actually didn't have a function other than that of being the "Other" (i.e., poor).  Jettisoning them completely could have happened without their absence affecting the train's operation, it seemed.  (It wasn't even clear that they were slave labor of any sort.) Considering Wilford's belief in every part to perform its role and the Marxist thrust of the movie, the presence of plebes who seemed to do nought but, well, eat and reproduce, struck me as a structural weakness of the movie (and perhaps of the original graphic novel, although I don't know it to comment on that).  This gap seemed least sensible to me.

    Still, fun movie.

  •  i went to see it at your recommendation (0+ / 0-)

    yes you definitely need the willing suspension of disbelief

    it was thought provoking in many ways, even though they did foreshadow some of the twists at the end

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:58:02 PM PDT

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