Review Snowpiercer (15) directed by Bong Joon-ho

Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton John Hurt and Jamie Bell in Snowpiercer

Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton John Hurt and Jamie Bell in Snowpiercer - Credit: Archant

This 2013 sci-fi dystopia by the Parasite director has a unique vision and a compelling pace

Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton John Hurt and Jamie Bell in Snowpiercer

Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton John Hurt and Jamie Bell in Snowpiercer - Credit: Archant

It’s taken seven years and you may have already streamed it on the N-word or another platform, but this marks the formal British release of the movie Bong Joon-ho made two films before Parasite.

This sci-fi dystopia about the last remnants of humanity stuck on a railway endlessly circling a frozen earth is like a Great Train Journey of the World where the majority of carriages are taken up by Michael Portillos. The privileged elite live in luxury at the front while at the back the huddled masses - led by Chris Evans - plan revolution.

There’s a character called Gilliam (Hurt) but if that’s a nod to Terry it’s a piece of misdirection. There are some amazing set and costume designs and the latest instalment of Tilda Swinton’s Fancy Dress Roadshow sees her turn up as a Victoria Wood caricature of Thatcher.

But the tone is mostly downbeat and punctuated by violent setpieces, including a cheeky homage to the corridor hammer fight in Oldboy.


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These scenes from the class struggle on a train aren’t the most nuanced of political allegories but its unique vision and the forward momentum batters down objections.

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