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Movie Review

Snowpiercer also known as “Rompenieves,” “Snowpiercer - le transperceneige,” “Snowpiercer: Arka przyszłości,” “Seolgungnyeolcha,” “Sunôpiasâ,” “Expresso do Amanhã,” “Expresul zapezii,” “Ledolomac,” “Buzqiran,” “Mori lieche,” “Mutsai litche,” “Ra'kevet ha'kerakh,” “Sniego traukinys,” “Xueguo lieche,” “설국열차”

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and drug content.

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Sci-Fi Action Thriller Adaptation
2 hr. 6 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
June 11, 2014 (festival)
Jun 27, 2014 (8 theaters)
July 11, 2014 (356 theaters)
October 21, 2014 (DVD)
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, The Weinstein Company

SIN, selfishness, depravity and the FALL OF MAN

social engineering

caste system

child labor

narcissist in charge

mass murder


anger in the Bible


DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer


ice and snow in the Bible


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Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer

EARTH’S ENVIRONMENT—Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer

What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring: Chris EvansCurtis
Tilda SwintonMason
Jamie BellEdgar
Alison Pill … Teacher
John HurtGilliam
Luke Pasqualino … Grey
Ed HarrisWilford
Octavia SpencerTanya
Kang-ho Song … Namgoong Minsoo
Ewen Bremner … Andrew
Ah-sung Ko … Yona
more »
Director: Joon-ho Bong—“The Host” (2007)
Producer: SnowPiercer
Moho Film
more »
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

“Fight your way to the front”

In the not-too-distant future, mankind has been reduced to the meager population of passengers aboard a train that circles the globe in the new movie “Snowpiercer.” A global-warming experiment has gone horribly wrong and brought with it Earth’s new Ice Age, forcing the few survivors onto a locomotive that runs with the help of a perpetual-motion engine. The train is divided into various sections, with the very rich at the head of the train, and the poorest passengers at the back. People in the rear must stay in the back, living in small, packed quarters and eating jet-black protein bricks every single day of their existence. For years, the train has operated this way with few problems—a few minor revolts here and there, but nothing major.

Curtis (Chris Evans) has been aboard the train for so long he’s forgotten most of what life was like before ice and snow blanketed Earth. His time spent at the back of the train has been mostly miserable, witnessing mankind at its absolute worst. He has seen the revolts against the front of the train fail, and has kept notes, silently logging why each failed and how that failure could have been avoided. As the film begins, we see the group of men he has rallied around him in hopes of finally leading an assault against the front that won’t be doomed from the start.

“Snowpiercer” is based on a French graphic novel and is the first English language film from director Joon-ho Bong, who directed the magnificent South Korean creature-feature “The Host” in 2006. Bong’s technical touches are outstanding, and he is able to create a claustrophobic atmosphere for the audience like the one experienced by the passengers aboard his train. We are in the struggle with them, and, like them, don’t know what comes with each new section of the train. We find out when they find out. Some sections are violent and frightening, some are warm and welcoming, and some are just downright bizarre.

And that is the word that best describes “Snowpiercer,” bizarre. It’s an obvious metaphor for our times, where the rich get richer and the poor stay down and no one questions anything, and change and equality matter less than keeping the status quo. But, the story is told in such a strange and unique way that I often found myself laughing at the most random times, or looking around at the others in the theater and asking “Is this really happening?” The wonderful (and often bizarre) Tilda Swinton gets one of her most weird roles as Mason, the spokeswoman to the working class section of the train. She speaks for the train’s creator and conductor, Wilford (Ed Harris), and is responsible for keeping the masses placated into accepting life as it is.

“Snowpiercer” paints the picture of a dark and depressing life aboard the train that saved mankind, while contrasting it with the harsh whiteness of the snow-covered world outside. The film contains rather strong violence and language, and caution should be exercised by Christians curious to see the film.

Any dystopian future in cinema is a bleak one, hopeless and depressing. Thankfully, as Christians. We know that no matter what happens in the world around us, our future is secure in Christ and our eternity is sealed. So that, if we are ever forced to board a train to nowhere in particular for the rest of our lives, we can still have faith that it’ll be for just a short time.

Obviously, films like this don’t deal with that sort of positive message, and to expect them to do so is rather naive. Instead, we must rate the film on its merits. Is “Snowpiercer” a well-made film? Yes. Does it have a relevant message? Yes. Is it one of the stranger summer movies I’ve seen? Yes. Did I like it?

Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure. I didn’t connect with the characters like I had hoped. There was a disconnect, a cold center that kept me from warming up to the plight of the weary passengers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. Just the truth. However, in the time that has passed since I saw the movie, I must admit I have thought about it often, pondered the message scattered about sections of the train. Is it a ride worth taking? Only you can decide. But I wouldn’t stop you.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Neutral—to answer the two questions asked: 1) film making quality. No problem on that. Film studios know how to make a pretty impressive film nowadays. 2) moral rating. …This movie is offensive but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it. It just shows the sin of people killing each other on this train for a battle of survival as how they see it should be done in their enclosed environment. I don’t really recommend the film for that reason because it is gory at times, and it helped me feel kind of numb and disturbed for a little while after viewing. I got over it though. Also, it is rated R, so the violence is to be expected in certain movies with this rating. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Darin, age 43 (USA)
Neutral—I clicked “Very Offensive” because for a movie to bother my stomach, it has some violence, for sure. I like some shows and films that I sure don’t let my kids watch, so violence isn’t always an issue, but what disturbed me with this movie is the same as what usually gets to me—the repeated stabbing or butchering, that often does not even show blood or the person being stabbed. But the repeated stabbing to me is brutal, very very cold. The blood spray in films such as “300” is so over the top, so it doesn’t bother me like the violence in this film. There was some blood splatter on the train windows, but that, to me, wasn’t the worst. Also, there is a scene with night vision with a massacre, and that was harsh. There is a lot of violence in this film that is down right brutal. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrea, age 41 (USA)
Neutral—I consider this movie a train wreck. However, there are always going to be sheeple who see this as their future. Suggestion: Try it out. Simply skip forward over sections you “do not want” and skip to sections that you “want”. You will be able to view the whole movie in 10—20 minutes. Then Google Netflix next “top 10” Maybe I should have used Bing!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—John, age 46 (Dominican Republic)
Negative—**Terrible Dialog!** I am surprised that no one else rating this movie found the script to be laughably fake. Not only was I not able to connect with Chris Evans” character, but I didn’t want to—especially at the end when I found out what he was a part of at the beginning of the events that lead up to the movie (no spoilers). The dialog was forced and unreal—for all of the characters, with the exception of Ed Harris” character, which, despite being the villain, was the only character that made you feel like there was any genuineness about the script. Too bad he is only found at the very end and for about 5-10 minutes of the movie. I wonder if it’s because he took his lines and reworked them. I got the sense that the actors didn’t believe in the roles they were playing—I don’t know if that’s the fault of the actor or the script writer.

One thing is for sure, the script could have been edited for dialog a little more before it went to the screen. Glad I watched the movie to get it over and done with. The actors should be a little more selective on the scripts they choose to be a part of, in my opinion. I can’t imagine that this helped Chris Evan’s career as an actor…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Matthew, age 30 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—“Snowpiercer” is a surprisingly fantastic movie that is both a thrilling action flick and a brilliant social allegory. If you can get past some language, it truly has an important message.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—C, age 16 (USA)
Movie Critics

…A politically charged, fantastical action thriller, which is both contemplative and entertaining, hammering home points about social injustice of the present day—but maybe a bit too overtly. …
—Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter

…a fantastical premise rich with real-world relevance… unusually satisfying… a volatile blend of humor and horror…
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

…An enormously ambitious, visually stunning and richly satisfying futuristic epic… with lots of time taken out for nuanced, character-building scenes that increase our level of emotional involvement. …
—Scott Foundas, Variety

…full of dazzling visuals… a vision that’s part “The Hunger Games,” part Ayn Rand and part Wachowski, with some Wes Anderson thrown in for whimsical measure. … [2½]
—Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

…This one is worth seeking out… You’ll need to get past the heavy-handed allegory of rich-versus-poor, which the movie makes easy once the action kicks in. Bong isn’t interested in making a social statement: He wants to put on a show for the audience unlike any you’ve seen before. … [3½/4]
—Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald

…“Snowpiercer” is hell on wheels and a glorious head trip… rich in visual and thematic imagery… [3½/4]
—Peter Howell, Toronto Star Newspapers

…Visions of a postapocalyptic world don't get much weirder than this one… if you settle in, it’s one wild ride. … [3/5]
—Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

…The film is full of wonderful details… “Snowpiercer” embraces a real radicalism; you'd have to go back to “V for Vendetta” to see a sci-fi film built so explicitly around armed struggle and class warfare. …
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

…it’s an unruly but rattling—and ravishing—work of art…
—Kimberley Jones, The Austin Chronicle

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