MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Radius-TWC
In Theaters, Video on Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Google Play and other streaming services.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho. Starring Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton.
Most film critics have certain movies that are known as “guilty pleasures”. The enjoyment of these movies is claimed at the onset as a personal choice that may not necessarily correlate with any intrinsic value in the film itself.
Snowpiercer is my guilty pleasure for the summer. As a reviewer who seeks to operate with a Christian moral code, it’s important for me to first point out the ethical problems with this movie. The film is essentially the depiction of the working class rising up against their oppressive overlords. This revolution is not what Jesus Christ commands us to do. Every person is a child of God; we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Snowpiercer presents the kind of revolution that Jesus refused to support. If anything, the movie probably resonates with socialism more than religion.
On the other hand…
This movie is really an amazing allegory about the class system that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Scientific efforts to combat climate change have backfired with dire consequences. The world is now a frozen wasteland. The sole survivors (a few thousand of them) live and work inside a large high-speed train that circles the planet on a long track and never stops moving.
The story is seen through the eyes of Curis (Evans), one of the hundreds of slaves that work in the back of the train and live on meager rations of protein bars. They have been oppressed for seventeen years and have decided to do something about it. Curtis is the leader of a group of rebels who unite to get to the front of the train and confront Mr. Wilford (Ed Harris), the man who pulls all of the strings. As the rebels move from car to car they will encounter religion, education, and a class system that accommodates the rich at the expense of the poor.
Designing an action film inside of a moving train requires great creativity and South Korean director Bong Joon-ho does wonders with set design and camera movement (accompanied with some cheesy CGI animation) to create an exciting film experience.
The film does not work outside of allegory (C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce uses a bus trip to heaven to make a point.) and it is extremely violent, but I much prefer a film like Snowpiercer and its struggles with inequality over the senseless and silly violence of superhero and car chase films in which human lives count for nothing as monsters and superheroes destroy a city.
The Weinstein Company is not promoting or supporting this film, so it has only been on a few screens, making only $3.5 million in the States (but $80 million worldwide). If you want to see it, you will need to stream it at home via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, or your cable company’s Video on Demand.
Three halos: Social commentary in the guise of a science fiction action film.
Three pitchforks: Rough language and much violence, with the sound effects department working overtime.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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