July 20, 2017

Snowpiercer, in movie theaters and streaming

“Snowpiercer,” a highly original dystopian science fiction film has been getting a lot of press lately. Using a new marketing strategy, the movie was only given a limited release across the country. For example, it has only been showing at the Music Box Theater in the city proper, along with two suburban locations.

Two weeks after its theatrical opening, it was made available through Video On Demand, Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. I watched it on Amazon Video for a mere $6.99, much cheaper than two movie tickets would have cost.

As for the movie itself, I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy likening it to the French flick “City of Lost Children” with a splash of “Bladerunner” thrown in. An antidote for global warming turns horribly wrong making the planet an uninhabitable freezer. Remnants of the population ride continuously across the world in a high speed and self-contained environment. The privileged ride in the luxurious front of the train with the underclass relegated to the prison-like back cars. The basic plot line is overtly political: the have-nots want what the haves have.

Tilda Swinton creates a mesmerizing and thoroughly despicable character; John Hurt, Octavia Spenser, Jamie Bell and Ed Harris turn in solid performances. Chris Evans of “Captain America” fame, playing the leader of a revolt doesn’t get a lot of love from some reviewers, but I for one thought he was good with an outstanding scene towards the end of the movie where he has to make an impossible choice.

As a word of warning, the violence is pervasive with a vicious video-game feel to many of the scenes. This is not a movie for every taste, but if you like off-beat incredibly visual films, this might be your cup of iced tea. Korean director Bong Jooh-ho makes quite a splash with his first English-speaking film, albeit two characters speak Korean with English sub-titles. You may want to consider finding a theater to really experience this movie to its fullest, but we undoubtedly will see more of this multiple-platform film release model in the future.

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