“Kids forgive, they don’t judge, they turn the other cheek, and what do they get for it?” – Detective Remy Bressant
SYNOPSIS: Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl’s kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally. – via IMDB
I recall enjoying this movie quite a bit when it came out a few years ago, and then I read the book by Dennis Lehane and I freaking loved that, though it certainly wasn’t an easy read at all. Naturally I stumbled across this movie and thought now would be a good time to watch it again, and let me tell you, it lost a lot of the magic for me. Not because it wasn’t done well or anything, it just missed a lot of the things that made the book so great. Ben Affleck did a damn fine job directing this, and I think he has some real talent as a director. Casey Aflleck was very good here, though not quite what I pictured Patrick Kenzie to be. While I find that Michelle Monaghan is one of the most beautiful women ever, I honestly think she was a terrible Angie. Why? Angie is this sexy, loud, in-your-face, smart-as-a-whip cussing part-Italian with ties to the Boston mob… and Monaghan was just a little too timid, quiet and mousy for me, which really sucked. Also, Bressant and Poole were underplayed, and I felt the story was far too rushed, skipping out completely on the things that actually gave you chills, and didn’t spend time building on anything. For instance, there is the scene in the bar where it was implied that Angie and Patrick were going to get attacked and Angie raped, and that scene carried no power and no weight. I blame the writers for this, because the movie also had a ridiculously short runtime for what it needed to tell, and so a lot was cut out and discarded along the way, which is a pity. Don’t get me wrong, I know this sounds like I hated it, this is just a typical case of the book is better, infinitely so. The film is entertaining, though it certainly falls short, but it is worth a watch, if for nothing else other than seeing Ben Affleck’s impressive skills as a director.
In the year 2031, the world has been destroyed. Global warming was becoming a serious issue and an experiment was launched to cool the atmosphere, bringing temperatures back to a more manageable level. Instead it froze the atmosphere, killing everything. Well, almost everything. On board the very special Snowpiercer, a perpetual-motion train created by Mr Wilford, there are survivors. The Snowpiercer ceaselessly travels a globe-spanning track, housing the only survivors of Earth. Cutis Everett (Chris Evans) seems to be someone that the residents look up to, someone they consider a leader – a role he is extremely uncomfortable with. They live in a few train cars, decrepit, poverty stricken, filthy… the lowest of the low. This is their world now. There is no way to better yourself, no option for advancement, nothing. It seems that a rebellion is brewing in the bowels of the train, to stop living in fear and as someone else’s slaves. The oppression must end. This is not living, this is captivity. Curtis’s right hand man, Edgar (Jamie Bell), is prepared to do whatever Curtis wants to get this rebellion underway. Curtis is communicating with Gilliam (John Hurt), a survivor of the last rebellion and a confidant of Curtis. They are receiving instructions from someone further up in the train, someone they believe to be in a position of power. They receive their notes in tiny silver capsules embedded in their protein blocks.
When some woman comes from higher up in the train, she takes with her two children, one of Tanya (Octavia Spencer) and Andrew (Ewen Bremner). They viciously attempt to stop this, but are unsuccessful. Soon after Curtis realises that they are running out of time, and the rebellion’s time frame moves up significantly. They will have to start sooner than anticipated, and immediately they start. Tanya joins them in a desperate attempt to recover her son, and they are off. Their first stop is to fight through the security they are faced with after Curtis realises that the guns the guards wield must be empty, the bullets were used up in the last rebellion. They make way to the prison section where they awaken Namgoong Minsu (Song Kang-ho) and request his help, seeing as he was a part of the security of the train. He is a Kronal addict, and will only assist them if they supply the drugs for him and his daughter Yona (Go Ah-sung), who was sleeping in the next container, as long as he opens the doors on their journey to the front of the train. Relenting, the rebellion moves on. Lives are lost as the battle wages.
Gilliam sends Curtis along with Mason (Tilda Swinton), a higher up on the train, though not yet the all-powerful and extremely elusive Mr Wilford. She is a loyalist in the most extreme sense. Using her as a captive and guide, a small group of survivors advance once more. Curtis and his fellow tail end train people are horrified to learn that the other inhabitants of the train live in the lap of luxury, something that most people cannot even recall, some never even had access to that when Earth was normal. While they battled and lived in squalor, there is a huge section of the train that enjoyed tailors, restaurants and gardens, amongst other things. The train builds from the slums into a stunning area. Namgoong and Yona are seemingly on another little mission, and it does not take long for Mason to try and save her own skin again, attempting to turn on Curtis and his people. Curtis is intent on making it to the front of the train and facing Wilford himself, though Gilliam insists that he kill him and not give Wilford a chance to talk his way out of it. The children are still missing, and there is no luck in finding them, though it is evident that they were far forward on the massive train. As the journey through the Snowpiercer continues, the elite start fighting back – or, at any rate, Wilford and his security lot do, making this revolt that Curtis is a part of all the more difficult. Many more obstacles present themselves, including many that start to chip at Curtis, designed to bring him to his knees.
Will Curtis and his group make it to the front of the train? Will he finally face off with Mr Wilford, the most revered man on the train? Will they ever be able to balance out the poverty and the comfort that the member of the train experience? Will this be the first successful revolt upon the Snowpiercer? Are their days of oppression almost over?
I kept seeing reviews about this popping up the whole time and figured I should totally find out what that was all about. I went in relatively blind (again, I do my best), and I was pleasantly surprised. This movie was bizarre, but it was very well done. It had everything stacked against it due to the really closed environment and all that, but it turned out to be amazingly well done. I loved the camera work and the score. Chris Evans gave a wonderful performance, and (no spoilers, relax), the story that was told at the end really just bowled me over, his delivery was perfect, it was flawless. Song Kang-ho was equally impressive. I thought the two worked fantastically together. Song’s Namgoong was definitely a great character, definitely my favourite. He brought so much to the table. The plot itself was actually pretty good, though there were some things that I questioned, if you don’t worry too much about it they will become superfluous. At the same time, the issues are nothing to really get hung up over and allow to detract from the movie. I had no idea how they were going to sustain the concept, seeing as the train is small and a closed environment, but that was sorted out relatively soon, too. The movie is long but never actually go to the place where it felt that way for me. Tilda Swinton was absolutely disgusting in this, and she played her role well. She grated on my absolute last nerve. Gilliam was also a very cool character and I enjoyed him. The rebellion that they led from the tail was impressive, and there were plenty moments where it got incredibly intense. The movie, as I said, was really bizarre, but it just worked for me, I was truly very taken with it. I thoroughly enjoyed all the themes that it explored about society and class, government and leaders… it was interesting. It was a pretty movie to look at, too. I would recommend checking this one out!