Friday, 8 August 2014
'Snowpiercer' is set in the future but not that far ahead as it is only 2031; not even a generation away. An attempt to stabilise the planet's environment has gone awry plunging the planet into a severe ice age.
The only humans remaining alive on Earth are all circumnavigating planet endlessly on a train which is a microcosm of power and suppression. The most powerful are in the front carriages of the train enjoying increasingly improved conditions the further forward their position and the least powerful are in the end carriages subjugated the more severely the further back they are located.
This endless circumnavigation is needed as the passengers face death from freezing should the train stop.
An uprising breaks out amongst the subjugated passengers who fight they forward towards the powerful front of the train.
This is all a very fanciful metaphor for power, the powerless and how power corrupts. However I was put off by the extreme violence of the first half of the film. Although the violence is more suggested than real it was sufficiently effective visually to have me averting my eyes at times. I cant really enjoy a film when I can't bear to keep my eyes on the screen. (I suppose that is fairly self evident.)
It is a pity because the premise, as unlikely as it is, poses very interesting questions about the use and abuse of power; an issue that is more prominent in the film's second half when the focus on extreme violence finally abates.
Whilst I found Tilda Swinton's exaggerated performance as a sort of PR and propaganda official skilful its weird humour seemed out of place.
An interesting if uneven effort.