This is the final trailer for director Bong Joon-ho’s upcoming post-apocalyptic adventure Snowpiercer. The word final should really be in quotation marks, because this is nowhere near the final video we’ll see for the film. Snowpiercer comes out in Bong’s native South Korea on August 1, and this is the last look they will see. Considering how amped up the rest of the world is to see The Host’s director make his English-language debut, you can bet there will be many, many more to follow.
This is hardly a trailer at all, and in most instances we would probably refer to this 47-second collection of clips as a teaser. Though it may be short, this proves that you don’t need of four-minute slab of video that gives away the entire plot of your film to have an effective promo. In less than a minute we see star Chris Evans go from vicious rage to broken down in tears, with a few stops in between. You’ll be hard pressed to find a trailer that tells you more about a movie while revealing less about the plot than this. It’s impressive what they do in so short a span, and few trailers make me want to watch the movie they’re hawking like this one.
There are glimpses of high-octane action, as well as the violent clash between two disparate classes that makes up much of the film’s story. The most important part, however, is what we learn about Curtis (Evans) as a character, and the futuristic world they inhabit. Snowpiercer takes place after experiments to reverse global warming kick off a new ice age. The only survivors circle the globe trapped in a train powered by a perpetual motion engine. Within these confines a rigid divide forms between the rich, who live in luxury in the front of the train, and the poor, who are piled on top of one another in filth in the back.
Such disparity in such a small place leads to an inevitable clash, and this one has been brewing for 18 years, as Curtis tells us, so you know it’s going to be a doozy. The implication is also that he lost someone dear to him as a direct result of this stratification. There are no specifics, but it isn’t hard to imagine a parent or child, someone fragile and less equipped to deal with harsh living conditions, starving, freezing, or dying due to lack of medical supplies, or something along those lines. A loss like this certainly explains his fervent desire for revolution.
The Weinstein Company picked up the North American rights to Snowpiercer, but we still don’t have a release date for anywhere outside of Korea. With all of the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest line up announcements over the last couple of days, I was hoping that maybe we’d hear something about a Snowpiercer premiere at one of those events, but alas, nothing yet.
Early reviews of Bong’s adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige—he worked on the script along with Kelly Masterson (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)—have been glowing, with critics noting the smooth blend of international and art house sensibilities with blockbuster action and spectacle. Those are promising words indeed. Produced by Bong’s countryman Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), Snowpiercer features and all-world cast that includes Evans, John Hurt, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ko Ah-sung, Ewen Bremner, and Allison Pil. I can hardly contain myself. Hopefully we’ll get to see it before the end of the year, but the longer we wait, the less optimistic I am.