How does the latest graphic novel adaptation starring Chris Evans stack up?
Turns out pretty damn well! The adaptation of the French graphic novel by South Korean film maker Bong Joon-ho made a huge impact in his home country last year taking over $50 million dollars… however due to issues with the Weinstein Company who have the rights for a Western Release (which have thankfully now been resolved) we’re still waiting on a release date. However the good news is that release date can’t come soon enough as Bong’s film is a well made, enjoyable and thought provoking piece of cinema.
Set in 2031, the planet Earth has frozen over due to the effects of Global Warming (think the scenes from disaster movie 2012) and the last of the human race are passengers aboard the titular vehicle Snowpiercer, a large perpetual motion powered train that travels around the earth in 365 days. In the time aboard the train a harsh class system has developed with those at the tail end living in squalor, now, 17 years after the train began it’s journey, a coup has been set in motion with those at the tail end readying for an aggresive push forward. Led by Curtis, portrayed by the ever charismatic Chris Evans, the journey of the rebellion see’s the impoverished tail dwellers take a bloody march towards the increasingly lavish front.
Bong does a terrific job of portraying the squalor in the back of the train and contrasts this perfectly with the lavish over the top nature of the carriages further forward. Whilst the film does dwell in some over the top gratuitous violence towards the end it never verges into silly territory, and with the numerous twists and revelations during the rebels push towards the cockpit the film manages to firmly hold the audiences attention throughout.
Chris Evans puts in a performance that proves he shouldn’t give up on acting after his Marvel contract is up, he manages to convey the conviction and confliction of Curtis and keeps the audience sympathetic to his plight even towards the end after shocking twists and revelations about his character. John Hurt is as great as you would expect John Hurt to be, and the rest of the cast, including a memorable performance from Jamie Bell, fill out the rest of the cast nicely.
One of the best comic book adaptations of recent years, faithful to the source material and a thought provoking commentary on the innate nature and selfishness of human beings. Coupled with strong performances, and a brilliant aesthetic value this film is a must see whether you’ve read the original source material or not.