Believe it or not, American audiences are less than a month away from finally seeing director Bong Joon-ho’s (The Host, Mother) English-language debut, the post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer. After a protracted battle between the filmmaker and The Weinstein Company, which owns the distribution rights and demanded extensive cuts to story and character development, the film will finally arrive in theaters on June 27. With the release imminent, we now have the first US trailer for your perusal.
Based on a French graphic novel, Snowpiercer is set in a future where attempts to reverse global warming have kicked off a new ice age. The only survivors live crammed inside of a train that, powered by a perpetual motion engine, endlessly circles the frozen wastes. Within these confines, a rigid caste system has developed, where the rich near the front of the train live in luxury, and the poor at the back wallow in squalor.
Action is definitely front and center in this trailer, but you also get a nice look at the bubbling class conflict. This has been simmering for a long time, 18 years to be exact, and as you can see, it explodes in a violent clash as the passengers from the back try to make their way forward and take the train.
The differences between rich and poor are obvious here. Near the front of the train they have natural light, clean quarters, even beauty salons and schools for their children. And what appears to be an orgy car—a holdover from the comics. I also want to see more of that weird aquarium-looking car. Over the years, a religion has developed and spread, and is used as a tool of control, to justify the upper class stepping on the throat of the impoverished passengers.
Any time Bong helms a movie, it is something worth getting excited about, and since Snowpiercer wrapped up principal photography late in 2012, we’ve been tenting our fingers and waiting ever since. When the film started opening in various markets overseas, we started getting impatient. As it garnered almost universal praise around the world, smashing box office records in Bong’s native South Korea and even being heralded by some as a masterpiece, it got even worse. The back and forth between the filmmaker and TWC grew increasingly heated as they debated over crippling edits—TWC head Harvey Weinstein said audiences in middle America are too dumb to get the film—but the two sides finally reached and accord that will allow audiences to see the director’s cut of the film.
Bong put together an incredible international cast that includes Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Song Kang-ho, Ko Ah-sung, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, Allison Pill, Ed Harris, and more. This won’t receive as wide a release as we initially hoped, but a few screens is better than nothing. Ideally, it will prove popular enough that it will expand to more and more markets.