Movie Review: Snowpiercer (2013)

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series English Movie Review


9 / 10


Snowpiercer, directed by Bong Joon-ho, is a dystopian science fiction film released in 2013, based on the French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige." The story is set in a future where an attempt to counteract global warming has resulted in a new Ice Age. To survive, the remnants of humanity are confined to a massive, perpetually moving train called the Snowpiercer. The train is divided into class compartments, with the wealthy elite living in luxury at the front, and the impoverished masses forced to reside in squalor at the rear. The film follows Curtis Everett (Chris Evans), a lower-class passenger, as he leads a rebellion to reach the front of the train and overthrow the oppressive system.


  • Chris Evans as Curtis Everett
  • Song Kang-ho as Namgoong Minsoo
  • Tilda Swinton as Mason
  • Jamie Bell as Edgar
  • John Hurt as Gilliam
  • Ed Harris as Wilford
  • Octavia Spencer as Tanya


“Snowpiercer” is a cinematic journey that raises questions about class, power, sacrifice, and the human condition. Bong Joon-ho’s direction, coupled with strong performances and a well-crafted narrative, make this film a powerful exploration of social issues within a thrilling dystopian setting. It’s a story that lingers in the mind, prompting viewers to ponder its implications long after the credits roll.

Snowpiercer is a visually stunning and thought-provoking film that masterfully explores social inequality, class struggle, and the consequences of environmental catastrophe. Bong Joon-ho’s direction, combined with a gripping storyline and strong performances, creates an engaging cinematic experience. The film’s allegorical elements provide ample material for critical reflection, and its dark, gritty atmosphere adds to the tension. Snowpiercer offers a unique and compelling take on the post-apocalyptic genre, making it a must-see for fans of thought-provoking cinema.


A Journey Through Desolation and Hope

In a not-so-distant future, humanity faces an environmental catastrophe. In a last-ditch effort to combat global warming, scientists release a substance into the atmosphere, but it has an unintended consequence, plunging the Earth into a new Ice Age. The planet becomes an inhospitable wasteland, and the remnants of humanity are forced to seek refuge aboard a massive, self-sustaining train known as the Snowpiercer.

The Snowpiercer, a marvel of engineering and ingenuity, is a colossal, globe-spanning locomotive. This train is not just any train; it is humanity’s last hope, a self-contained world on wheels. It circles the globe on an endless, trackless loop, powered by a perpetual motion engine. The train is a microcosm of society, divided into class compartments, with each section representing a different social stratum.

The Tail Section (The Tailies)

As the film begins, we are introduced to the desperate and grimy inhabitants of the train’s rear section, known as “The Tail.” These passengers are the lowest of the low, living in cramped, squalid conditions. They are fed a mysterious, unappetizing protein substance called “Kronole,” and their lives are marked by cruelty and oppression. The tail section is where Curtis Everett (Chris Evans), our protagonist, resides. He has a smudged past and a deep-seated desire to change their circumstances.

Curtis is surrounded by a group of fellow Tailies, including his mentor, Gilliam (John Hurt). Together, they have been planning a rebellion against the oppressive regime that governs the train. Curtis’s determination to lead his people to a better life drives the narrative forward.

The Front Section

In stark contrast to the Tail, the front section of the train is a world of opulence and luxury. The elite, represented by people like Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton), enjoy gourmet meals, decadent parties, and a comfortable, privileged existence. The train’s mysterious creator and conductor, Wilford (Ed Harris), resides at the very front, an almost mythical figure to the passengers.

The Uprising Begins

Curtis and his fellow rebels decide that the time for action has come. They stage a riot in the Tail, attacking the guards and seizing weapons. Their ultimate goal is to make their way through the train car by car, reaching the front and confronting Wilford. They believe that taking control of the engine will give them the power to reshape their world.

As they make their way forward, Curtis’s group faces a series of increasingly challenging obstacles. They encounter armed guards, riot police, and other hazards that reflect the brutal hierarchy of the train. Along the way, they explore various cars that offer glimpses into the extravagant lives of the elite, showcasing the stark class divide within the train.

The School Car

One of the first cars they enter is a school car, where children from the front section are being educated. The sight of these privileged children sparks anger and resentment in the Tailies, as they are denied such opportunities.

The Butcher Car

The rebels pass through a car where a grotesque butchery operation is taking place. Here, they discover that the Kronole they’ve been consuming is made from ground-up insects. This revelation further fuels their determination to continue their uprising.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the movie Snowpiercer using Save the Cat Beatsheet.

The Aquarium Car

In a later car, they encounter an aquarium filled with bizarre sea creatures. This moment underscores the decadence of the front section and the surreal nature of life aboard the train.

The Minister Mason Confrontation

As the Tailies move forward, they finally confront Minister Mason, a ruthless enforcer of the status quo. Mason delivers a chilling speech justifying the class system on the train. Tilda Swinton’s performance in this role is both memorable and disturbing.

The Engine and Wilford

The group finally reaches the engine, where they come face to face with the enigmatic Wilford. He reveals the dark history of the train and explains the necessity of the class system to maintain the train’s delicate balance. Curtis learns that he was chosen to be Wilford’s successor.

This revelation forces Curtis to grapple with a moral dilemma. He must decide whether to perpetuate the existing system, as Wilford suggests, or to pursue a more equitable alternative.

The Tragic Conclusion

The film’s climax is a heart-wrenching, brutal, and thought-provoking sequence. Curtis makes a painful decision that will have profound consequences for the future of the train and its passengers. It’s a moment of sacrifice and redemption, where he recognizes the true nature of power and what it means to lead.

A New Beginning

The film closes with a glimmer of hope. Yona, a young girl who was rescued from the front section, joins Tanya, a Tailie survivor, as they emerge from the wreckage of the train. The outside world is still frozen, but there is a chance for renewal and rebuilding. The train, once a symbol of division and oppression, is now derailed and decimated, offering the possibility of a more just society.


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