Snowpiercer is the newest film from popular Korean director Bong Joon Ho, many may be familiar with his other work such as the host and most recently Mother. His films bounce from being wonderfully fun to dark, snowpiecer falls between both. An adaptation of a French graphic novel, it certainly puts it into perspective. The film is set in the future when the world has been eliminated by global warming, the last few survivors remain on a train that constantly and aimlessly circles the world non stop. We meet our main protagonists who live in the tail of the train and are considered the scum of the train. Curtis is the main protagonist and he has a plan to lead the tail people to the from of the train and take down the evil Mr. Wilford; that essentially the entire movie in a nutshell. Its a quest film of them trying to get from point A to B. Visually it is very well done, Ho does an excellent job of repressing the slums and the elite.
There is a shift in the films visual appeal halfway through, it really does suck you into this twisted vision. Gore is a plenty, if you like you movies violent (like myself) this is going to be your cup of tea; it is a cartoonish violence that comes off very silly and almost comical. One aspect that fails is the humour, I am not sure if it got lost in translation but the audience I was sitting with never laughed at moment that were 'intended' to be funny. Instead they laughed at awkward moments, in a scene where Curtis is talking about eating babies; everyone found it hysterical. The pacing is good, so you will never feel bored by it and you will be constantly one the edge of your seat. The scene where we come face to face with hundreds of axed men leaves you on the edge of your seat. The tension and claustrophobia of the train is perfectly captured, making the viewer feel entirely boxed in throughout the journey. Most performances are over the top with Tilda Swinton playing an excellent and unrecognisable role; she brings some proper humour to the film where it lacks.
So why did it receive a 3.5, towards 2/3 of the way the movie begins to slowly fall apart, and it becomes apparent there is something wrong. There is a lack of effort and the end feels so slapped together at the las minute that it fails to capture and of the human elements of the movie. Most importantly it leaves you wondering "what was the point?". The ending is very similar to Old Boy (no spoilers), with the significance of winged men. Ed Harris plays a strong role and I have never seen him do a bad performance in his career (1987's Walker will still remain my favourite role of his). The use of CGI also doesn't work at times and takes you out of the overall experience, for example when we see insects in a machine; the CGI is so bad it looks like something out of 1998. A lot of things don't even make sense, with gap plot holes and a Korean father and daughter that never explain their addiction. Despite a mixed bag, take it for the fun ride it is.