When I first saw the trailer for Snowpiercer, I was sure it was going to be a good one. The premise looked interesting, the trailer was packed with action, and Chris Evans is always a plus.
Unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations by quite a bit.
The film itself has remained relatively unknown in the Hollywood sphere due to a variety of factors. The Korean director Bong Joon-Ho has yet to make waves in the U.S. film industry, despite hit movies in South Korea, including The Host. Additionally, creative differences between the Weinstein Company and Joon-Ho have resulted in a severely limited release of the film in America.
All that aside, however, the film provides a unique movie experience, but the plot is severely lacking, and the acting mediocre. Joon-Ho’s Korean style is highlighted throughout, and builds on the somewhat trite themes of revenge and senseless violence. Joon-Ho is to be commended for his work tying American tropes to Korean ones, but it fails to satisfy either standard. The violence is aplenty, but juxtaposed with Hollywood-esque character development and exposition. Put bluntly, the two didn’t mesh well. There were definitely opportunities to expound on both without the film being jarringly disjunct, and Joon-Ho didn’t work with that experience.
The plot leaves a lot to be explained, and the conclusion appears all too convenient. The acting wasn’t bad, but the overall casting could use work. Some characters feel out-of-place, and such a feeling can interfere with the entire moviegoing experience.
Joon-Ho’s work here left much to be desired, but it’s an ambitious strike into Hollywood by a director who is unafraid to introduce unfamiliar stylistic choices into the mix. I have no doubt that Snowpiercer will likely launch him into many more opportunities to work with big names. Although Snowpiercer fell short of my expectations, I would definitely keep an eye out for future works by Mr. Joon-Ho. He’s bold and headstrong (as evidenced by his scuffles with Weinstein), and hopefully that spirit will show itself in future films.