The Snowpiercer


I was looking for a movie to officially end my summer, when flipping through the billings, my eye caught one entitled The Snowpiercer.

With last winter’s ice storm still blindsiding me in my moments of quiet with a dreaded fast-freeze, I thought it best to face the anxiety of Winter 2014 head on … be my own shrink, so to speak.

Thus The Snowpiercer.

Right from the start, let me say as concept The Snowpiercer is a fairly good environmental teaser, but the movie failed to satisfy my appetite in graphics, coherent screen play and characterization.

Movie time is 2035 and the actual snowpiercer, a train forty-four carriages long must keep circling the earth till hell freezes over in a  forever do or die, if the humans on board want to survive.

Hell has already frozen over, of course, in so far as the people aboard are survivors of the environmental destruction we engage in on this planet every day. Their pollution has returned the world to an ice age – a veritable a picture-perfect snow globe if it weren’t so desolate.

And the train, like a wind-up Christmas toy, which keeps forever running at the base of the snowed-over skyscrapers, opens up a window on the frozen but mind-blowing architectural structures of our civilization now turned hot ice.

Listen carefully ….  and one can hear, Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht a-tinkling.

None of this lost art gallery the inmates of the tail of the train, who live in dungeon like squalor, have seen in ages. So imagine how even more spell-bound at seeing it are the generations who knew it not and who have been chosen to become its salvation, the progeny of these very dungeon inmates, children born on the train!

For in its organization and layout, the train itself mirrors a hierarchical structure even more stringent than that of the past frozen world. The elite at the head of the train have devised a system of brutal policing, food rationing and servitude (that includes child labour to keep the engines turning under the flooring), to secure their comfort and to ensure that the train keeps moving, since if the train stops, everyone will be stranded among the tombstones of the now frozen earth that they circle from year to year. The leisured privileged and their indulgent children at the head of the train live off the energy of the tail, keeping its denizens in their place through an army of intermediaries, messengers and hatchet men (literally).

It’s easy to guess what props this drama up for its almost two hour length – the tail’s revolt, or course! the only successful one in recent history when a leader, unleashing an unending bloodbath, manages to forge his way up in a human rights mission to unseat the engine driver, the ruler, and right the wrongs of the train.

So who is this gutsy leader, how has the tail picked him, and what has singled him out for the role?

For me, apart from awe at, and my enduring faith in, the unshaken upright snow globe passed by outside the train window, the wherefore and the why of this leader’s choosing is the only other angle that redeems the forty-four carriage long revolt, replete with drugs, orgies and gore.

Has The Snowpiercer done the trick of psychologically preparing me for Winter 2014?

Perhaps it has.

Give over, Fall, I say.  As Shelley prophesises:

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

For the avalanche of snow that buried Calgary over these past late-summer days of September 2014 hasn’t disturbed me one bit.  


 © Cynthia James – September 2014

2 Commentsto The Snowpiercer

  1. Y.Brad says:

    Loved the movie’s concept. I like the action though.
    Stay warm. BRRR!