Film Capsule: Snowpiercer

In this locomotive we call home there is one thing left between our warm hearts and the bitter cold. Clothing? Shields? No. Order. Order is the barrier that holds back the frozen death. We must all of us on this train of life remain in our altar’d station, we must each of us occupy our preordained particulate position. Would you wear a shoe on your head? Of course you wouldn’t wear a shoe on your head. A shoe doesn’t belong on your head. A shoe belongs on your foot. A hat belongs on your head. I am a hat, you are a shoe. I belong on the head, you belong on the foot.

That monologue – delivered by Tilda Swinton approximately 20 minutes into Snowpiercer – is one of several reasons why this film may be the most thought-provoking science fiction movie in years. Brilliant, bloody, inventive … Snowpiercer has a great deal to say about social structure, class, fascism, capitalism, theism, man-made atrocities, and why wars are being fought and lost over controlling the means of production. Korean director Joon-ho Bong includes fitting nods to Oldboy, 2001, The Matrix, Blade Runner, Children of MenThe Empire Strikes Back and Battle Royale (among others). Bong’s assembled a solid cast here, as well. Chris Evans (Captain America) is very good. Tilda Swinton (all things Wes Anderson) is even better. Octavia Spencer, unfortunately, not so much.

Anyway, the point being, Snowpiercer is a warm tonic for a bitter day. And it is highly recommended. So it is.

(Snowpiercer opens in limited release this Friday.)