Update: February 3, 2014 Dragonlord's Review of SNOWPIERCER (No Spoilers) Bottom Line: Riveting, thought-provoking and somewhat flawed, Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer is a bold, eccentric post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller suffused with captivating imagery, contemplative social themes and a superb international cast. In 2013, three of the current hottest Korean filmmakers made their English-language directorial debut: Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Thirst, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) with Stoker, Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil, The Good, the Bad, the Weird) with The Last Stand, and Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother, Memories of Murder) with Snowpiercer. Among the three, Snowpiercer was the most interesting by far. I first read the premise two years ago and I already couldn't wait to see the finished film. Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, the ambitious sci-fi film takes place in the near future where a failed experiment to stop global warming resulted in freezing the Earth in an eternal blizzard. The only human survivors are on board the Snowpiercer, a sophisticated train that travels around the world and powered by a perpetual-motion engine. Over time a social stratification formed where the elite at the front cars live in luxury while the impoverished masses are crammed at the rear of the train. Curtis (Chris Evans) leads the oppressed in a revolt to take over the locomotive and confront the reclusive transport magnate Wilford at the very front of the train. Evans gives a terrific performance as the calm rebel leader with a mysterious past. The actor exudes a natural commanding presence which was ironically absent in his previous two Captain America feature appearances. Evans is surrounded by a magnificent international cast, including John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner and Allison Pill, with each bringing their A-game. Like the the train they're riding on, the film is constantly moving forward with the insurgents advancing from car to car, each presenting new alluring and bizarre environments and personalities. Among the many colorful memorable characters on board is the loathsome Mason, one of the aristocratic leaders and wonderfully portrayed by Tilda Swinton. Sporting a distinct Yorkshire accent, false teeth, flamboyant outfit, mesmerizing hand/body gestures and overall eerie appearance, the Academy Award winning actress shapes Mason into an unforgettable repellent villain. The key to the mutineers' plans is the drug-addicted Korean engineer, played by Song Kang-ho (a Bong Joon-ho regular), who designed the train's inter-carriage doors. The junkie security expert agrees to help the rebels in exchange for Kronol, an addictive drug, for him and his female companion Yona, played by Go Ah-sung (who played Kang-ho's daughter in The Host). The Korean pair gives the film some much needed comical moments as they haggle and scramble for their next fix. When the revolutionaries unlock one of the doors that leads them face to face with frightful balaclava-wearing axe gang, it sets the stage for one of the most powerful thrilling action sequences in the film. Marco Beltrami's haunting score augments the action and strengthens Bong's unique vision for the film. Riveting and thought-provoking, Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer is a bold dystopian post-apocalyptic thriller permeated with captivating imagery, contemplative social themes and a superb international cast. A few questionable science fiction elements and the perplexing bad ending (see spoilers below) threaten to derail the whole experience but like the mythical locomotive, Snowpiercer powers through these obstacle with its extensive positive qualities. Simpy put, one of the best sci-fi films I've seen in recent years. Rating: 9/10 ***SPOILER THOUGHTS BELOW*** My no. 1 complaint is Song Kang-ho's dumb master plan of going out of the train. Sure the ice is melting gradually but it's not up to the point where the land is remotely habitable. If they did get out, where will they get food? Equally ridiculous is his idea that a fur coat is enough to survive the cruel climate. Everything they need to survive is on the train, just wait until the snow drastically dissipates before thinking of getting off the locomotive. Plus, blowing up the car door was stupid since it would have caused the train to derail or worst and ended up killing everyone including themselves. The ending with the polar bear is meant to show hope that there is life outside of the train. Still back to my original complaint that the environment is still very harsh to live on and no guarantees where their food supply will come from. In fact, the Korean teenager and the black kid could end up being dinner for the polar bear. Ed Harris' brief explanation on his reasoning why the need for the guise and dramatics (people need a level of fear, anxiety, and so on in their lives) is not totally convincing. I think there is a better and more effective way to implement his goals. I actually support Harris, just not his methods. It's his train, if you don't like it, leave. The people inside the train are all that remains of humanity. So maintaining the train is top priority. He needs little kids to replace the mechanical parts, then so be it. I think they should have indoctrinated everybody from the very start (just like what they're doing with the elite kids in the front car) and it is every child's sacred duty to serve as a spare part for a number of months. As for the overpopulation problem, I think there's an efficient way to handle this (brainwashing and whatnot) rather than orchestrating a risky revolt. 17 years ago John Hurt sacrificed his arm and became the leader of the rear train. At the end, Curtis lost his arm while saving the kid. It would have been more symbolic if Curtis had lived and became the leader of the survivors.