Snowpiercer is a stylish and thought provoking dystopian action film with a modern take on Marxism, but its bogged down by empty characters and half-baked ideas.

In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off most life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine.

Snowpiercer explores class disparity through social stratification in a train.

The cast delivers solid performances with Chris Evans capable enough to carry the film. Predictably, Tilda Swinton is a standout as the devoted representative for the mysterious Wilford. As the rag tag of rebels plod on, the film shows different sections of the train each with its own purpose and themes. The production design is detailed and vivid with hints of steampunk.

The closed society is exaggerated but mirrors parts of our own – education bordering on propaganda, decadence and privilege coexisting with abject poverty through creative set pieces and class warfare through bloody showdowns of choreographed action scenes.

The film doesn’t bother explaining on how its world works and mainly focuses on the momentum from the Curtis Rebellion. It’s rough, riveting, violent and grimy but also glosses over gaps in the plot. The characters are hollow. The villains are cartoonish. The narrative is a mixed bag of lower class unrest, ghettoisation, satire, and Marxism. As the film ends, it finally remembers what it’s really trying to say in the first place and manages to string together all its ideas.

Overall, Snowpiercer is a smart and interesting sci-fi action film with some original concepts – protein blocks (guess where they come from!) and ax wielding hooligans imported from Kiev – that are as multifaceted as its self-contained world.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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