Chris Evans may be best known as Captain America in the MCU, but amidst his MCU tenure, he starred in a dark, post-apocalyptic thriller in 2014. That thriller was Snowpiercer, which also happens to be the English-language debut of South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho. The director and MCU star make a great combo in this film, which is now available to stream on Netflix.
Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans of Marvel fame, is streaming on Netflix.
Snowpiercer is adapted from the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette with a screenplay co-written by Bong Joon-Ho and Kelly Masterson. The film takes place aboard the titular train, where the last of humanity lives after a climate disaster leaves the world completely frozen. The train is separated by class, with the lower class living toward the back of the train and the elites living near the front.
Snowpiercer follows Chris Evans‘ character, Curtis Everett, who leads a rebellion against the elite class that fights their way to the front of the train. Along with Evans, the film stars Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Go Ah-sung, John Hurt, and Ed Harris. Interestingly, the film holds the claim of one of the most expensive South Korean productions ever, with a budget of $40 million.
Director Bong Joon-Ho would explore classism in a more grounded way in his incredible Oscar-winning film Parasite in 2019, but Snowpiercer is a great introduction to the filmmaker’s catalog that allows him to really make the most of a high budget and explore a more action-oriented style thriller.
As you might expect, the film was critically acclaimed and did fairly well at the box office, bringing in around $86.7 million worldwide. While Chris Evans is still in action mode in this film, he does get to flex his dramatic muscles more than usual with a more dour character than he typically plays.
Snowpiercer does a lot of things right and makes for a highly entertaining watch. While people may be tired of post-apocalyptic worlds, the setting of this film manages to stand apart thanks to its unique world-building. In the capable hands of Bong Joon-Ho, it certainly stands out from other sci-fi films of its ilk, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.
Bong Joon-Ho Vs. Harvey Weinstein
While most studios would be content to let Bong Joon-Ho do whatever he wants, the director actually had to butt heads a few times with Harvey Weinstein after The Weinstein Company acquired the US distribution rights for Snowpiercer. The wide release of the film was initially delayed by Weinstein himself after he tried to get up to 25 minutes of scenes cut from the film, asking for more action and less dialogue.
A memorable scene involving a fish being gutted was one that Weinstein was particularly keen to cut, but Bong Joon-Ho hilariously lied that his father was a fisherman and the scene was in tribute to him to get Weinstein to keep it in.
Weinstein’s cut of Snowpiercer was eventually screened to a test audience, who hated it, which prompted Weinstein to ask for more cuts. However, Bong Joon-Ho’s original cut was test-screened later to much better reviews, which prompted a grassroots campaign to get his version released to US audiences.
The campaign, created by cinema activist Denise Heard-Bashur and supported by Tilda Swinton and John Hurt, was successful, and the uncut version would eventually get a wide release.
Le Transperceneige Vs. Snowpiercer
While the graphic novel that Snowpiercer is based on is well worth the read on its own, fans of it should not go in expecting a faithful adaptation of the novel. While the setting is the same, Bong Joon-Ho made the call to rewrite the story rather than trying to fit the long narrative of the graphic novel into the movie.
Of course, not everything has to be a 1:1 adaptation of the source material, and in the case of this film, it seems like it was the smart move to make it its own thing rather than adapt something that wouldn’t work as a film.
So, if you’re in the mood for a sci-fi thriller from one of the most interesting directors working today, then Snowpiercer should be the perfect film for you. Make sure to check it out on Netflix. Also, make sure to watch out for Bong Joon-Ho’s upcoming film Mickey 17, which is also a sci-fi that will star Robert Pattinson.