‘Snowpiercer’ Trailer & Early Review Round-Up

Published 2 years ago by , Updated April 17th, 2014 at 9:37 pm,

Considering how many American and English stars are showcased in Bong Joon-ho’s new sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer, it’s been strange and even somewhat bracing to be on the outside looking in at the South Korean film’s marketing campaign. Although The Weinstein Company currently owns the North American distribution rights, there’s been no word yet as to when Snowpiercer will be released in the US, and the numerous making-of featurettes that have been released have included substantial interviews with the director and other South Korean crew and cast, with no English subtitles to help translate them.

Hopefully the announcement of a US release won’t be too far away, because every new bit of footage shown from Snowpiercer makes it look all the more interesting. Bong’s previous works include the fantastic monster movie The Host, the star of which (Song Kang-ho) also has a role in Snowpiercer as a security expert, so this return to the science fiction genre is more than welcome.

A new trailer for Snowpiercer has been unveiled ahead of the film’s domestic August release, and focuses on the rebellion led by Curtis (Chris Evans) with a voiceover from Gilliam (John Hurt), the elderly advisor of the “freeloader” section of the enormous, ever-moving train. Snowpiercer is set in a dystopian future where the world has been hit with a brutal ice age and the surviving dregs of humanity are forced to stay in constant motion in order to survive, with a fiercely strict leader, Wilson (Tilda Swinton), keeping everyone in their proper place.

Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer1 Snowpiercer Trailer & Early Review Round Up

If the trailers haven’t yet been enough to put Snowpiercer on your list of films to watch, then perhaps the early reviews will push it over the edge. Critics from Variety and Twitch have both written rave reviews for Snowpiercer, praising the technical achievements and the depth of its storytelling:

Twitch (Pierce Conran):

“Bong Joon-ho has created with Snowpiercer the most accomplished overseas work of any Korean filmmaker to-date. While it remains to be seen whether or not mainstream western audiences will embrace Bong’s dark and ferocious genre film, in many ways he’s already beaten Hollywood at its own game. A tour de force of science fiction, Snowpiercer is a singular and breathtaking cinematic experience.”

Variety (Scott Foundas):

“Bong gets away with much that he almost surely would have had to curtail if working at an American studio… By the end, the film reveals itself as a surprisingly thoughtful contemplation of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, and whether mankind is worth trying to save at all. Somber stuff, to be sure, but not without flashes of hope, and a steady infusion of Bong’s dark, quirky humor.”

Ko Asung and Song Kang ho in Snowpiercer Snowpiercer Trailer & Early Review Round Up

Snowpiercer is literally and unabashedly a film about class warfare, with the dirty, downtrodden masses at the back of the train possessing a building rage towards Wilford (Ed Harris), the industrialist who owns the train, and eventually exploding into a rebellion where they attempt to seize control of the forward cars. Any film with a political message, however abstract it might be, runs the risk of being to overt or preachy and alienating some of its audience. While THR praises Snowpiercer in some aspects, this review suggests that some of the central themes and messages were a bit too forthright:

THR (Clarence Tsui):

“Bong’s vivid depictions — aided by Ondrej Nekvasil’s production design, Hong Kyung-pyo’s cinematography and Steve M. Choe’s editing — are exceptional, adding to a film that is as much about philosophical reflections of an age of social and moral collapse as it is about blockbuster-friendly, CGI-enhanced sequences…

“As it stands, Snowpiercer is still an intellectually and artistically superior vehicle to many of the end-of-days futuristic action thrillers out there. But while the references to real-life atrocities should certainly resonate with international audiences, the overt ways in which Bong hammers his points home actually make the film less powerful than the more layered political allegories of his previous films like Memories of Murder and The Host.”

The overall tone of the reviews so far is extremely promising, and the cast that Bong pieced together for Snowpiercer will no doubt be a strong draw for audiences. Tell us what you think of this latest trailer, and what you’re hoping that Snowpiercer will deliver, in the comments.


Snowpiercer is out in South Korean theaters on August 1, 2013, but doesn’t yet have a US release date.

Source: Twitch, Variety, THR [via The Playlist]

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. So I guess that Chris Evans is now rich enough that he feels the need to make a class warfare movie to assuage his conscience… I’ll pass.

    • Class warfare movies are all the rage in Hollywood these days. It appears they are following the lead of our divisive president, unfortunately.

      • All politicians are divisive, and that’s not always bad either.

      • Classic example of right-wing projection. Conservatives have spent literally decades demonizing gays, minorities, feminists, etc, but the president is the one who’s divisive? LOL.

        • Exactly.

        • My God, man, you must watch MSNBC. It absolutely AMAZES me how the left can so distort the history and record of the right, but I’ll give you this…you have been successfuly in fooling many people. The liberals are the real masters of deception, demonization, and stereotyping, to the point where, we have had the democrats hold majority control for seven years now, we have more people in poverty and on food stamps than ever before, we have an unemployment rate hovering around 8%, we are close to 17 trillion dollars in debt, we have multiple scandals, to include an American ambassador’s murder in Libya being attributed to a YouTube video, journalists being investigated by the Dept. of Justice, political opponents of the president being selectively audited by the IRS, and the mass accumulation of computer and phone records by the government…yet you hypocritical lefties, who would demand the impeachment and prosecution of a conservative Republican president for the same, continue to bow down at the alter of Obama. Pathetic and sad.

          • Just because he thinks conservatives are scum(and they are) doesn’t mean he thinks Obama is great. I want someone massively more Liberal than Obama has ever thought of being.

            • By liberal, I’m assuming you mean someone who would forcefully take from some to give to others. Well, that is what we are “working” toward…a culture of dependency and entitlement. Sorry it isn’t happening fast enough for you. Might I suggest a job or two in the interim, like so many of the rest of us, as well as, just maybe, an effort to be content with the gifts God has given you?

              • My parents give life and any gifts I may have, not sure where this God fells comes into.

          • …and YOU must watch republican mouthpiece fox news…

      • Look at what you’ve started. Came here to read about a movie, all I got was politics.

        Shame on you sir, shame on you!!!!

        • As simply as I can for you…if someone who is rich did nothing illegal or immoral to obtain his/her wealth, why do you care how much money they have, especially not knowing what they do with it? They could employ others, provide for their extended family, give to charities or churches, develop new medicines by contributing to research, etc. Your comments, and those of others here, seem to stereotype all people in the upper class as being less than reputable. All classes have their less than reputable people, such as someone who would suggest “perhaps only war will help to even that back out”. So, you’d kill to get what others got, would you? That sounds inspired by “envy” and “greed”, rather than educated or enlightened…

          • When wages remain stagnant, when education becomes out of reach, when programs meant to sustain those most at risk are cut those things cause death too. It may be a slower, and a more depressing death than having one’s head separated from their shoulders. But your beliefs cause millions to die. They just did it sans the $60,000 car and the Louis Vuitton luggage.

            • So, my beliefs cause people to die? Wow. My friend, we all die, and in the end, I believe it is not what you own in life that matters, but how you live it, and I don’t want to live a life consumed by envy or hatred of others.

              • Nope you want to turn a blind eye to the suffering that greed causes.

                • True suffering is caused by passions. You are correct that one is greed, but others are envy and spite. I’ll let those who suffer from greed attempt to address it themselves, while I try to resolve my own envy and spite.

          • It’s not about “killing” to get what someone else has got. (which I never even said…). It’s about fighting against the greed.

            Someday we have to grow up. Someday we have to realize that there is something more valuable than $$. Someday we need to realize what real achievement is. How many children could be vaccinated against disease? How many people could we save from starvation? How low could we push homelessness numbers? Those are achievements worthy of mankind. Not buying your 3rd vacation home while your employees can’t afford health care. Not buying a new S Class while your factory dumps chemicals into the river giving people cancer and making the water undrinkable. War can be fought in many ways. The average worker has been under attack for generations. And the bodies are piling up my friend.

    • John, you seem to suggest that there’s something wrong with “class warfare” as a theme.

      It’s a really interesting sci-fi premise to suggest that with humanity now limited to a train, the people at the front of the train are the elite while the masses are confined to the back.

      I suppose if you think that there’s no problem with societal inequality and that even broaching the subject is distasteful then I guess you’ll want to skip this one. You’ll probably want to skip the upcoming “Elysium” too.

      • Yep. I’ll pass too, and also “suggest” that there’s something wrong with “class warfare”. Some of us are tired of people like yourself whining that some people have more than others. It’s called the “real world”. If you’re jealous of other people you should work harder or get a better job.

        • lol and the winner for most ignorant comment on screenrant this year award goes to….

          Atleast it explains your drinking problem.

          the emptyness you are trying to fill is called a soul.


        • Yes, because the have-nots just don’t work hard enough and opportunities for better jobs are always available in abundance. Seriously, dude, you’re the one who isn’t living in the real world.

        • Ya because everyone has an equal start right? The people who are born with illnesses that rob them of energy, the people whose parents physically or sexually abuse them, the people born with apraxia, dyslexia or other learning disabilities. People who have to work to support a family member who has failing health. Or guys like me who lost their wife at the tender age of 31 and am now a single dad raising a 10 year old. We all have the exact same chance right? You know what I am tired of? I am tired of ignorant lucky pieces of filth who think because they got lucky they shouldn’t have to worry about the rest of the world as a whole. Please leave your BMW running next time you pull in your garage and put the door down.

          • Wow…sounds like your real “beef” is with God, who has given us all different gifts. The trick in this short life is to be content with what you have, while always attempting to move forward, spiritually more so than materially.

            It has been said that Mother Teresa’s only possessions were her robe, sandals, and a Bible, yet she was one of the greatest among us…

            • Oh man, oh man. Jeff,aside from sheltering known abusers of human rights, excepting money donations from drug cartals and hugely exaggerating her claims to charity organisations, how exactly was that woman ‘the best of all of us..’?
              See Cristopher HItchens on Mother Teresa…

          • I did respond to this comment of yours, but for whatever reason, my response is awaiting moderation. I do hope that it eventually shows itself.

      • I don’t find it distasteful to “broach the subject”, necessarily. But I admit I prefer movies like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, in which the class-warfare peddlers were the VILLAINS.

        Yes, I’ll probably skip ‘Elysium’ as well. I prefer not to be lectured on inequality by an actor who spent $15 million on his last mansion.

        • Wow, this thread got idiotic real fast. “Work harder or get a better job”?

          How naive do you have to be to believe there isn’t rampant institutionalized inequality in this world?

        • +1,000,000,000

        • Good rebuttal, John. I have to laugh when these “occupy” types complain about alleged “greed”, not recognizing that most people have worked diligently for decades to acquire and earn their belongings. They also don’t recognize their own “greed”, coupled with “envy” and “jealousy”, for wanting to forcefully take and redistribute private property. It’s truly maddening at times, but sadly, it exemplifies our deteriorating culture, one that increasingly promotes a sense of entitlement for government handouts.

            • Just fyi…I couldn’t read beyond “free will is a fallacy”, as I have no doubt that errant statement foolishly colors everything else you have to say.

              • Yes free will exists. That would make perfect sense in a world where we know that different people have different chemical imbalances, where pills can solve your depression, where psychopaths exist. Free will simply doesn’t exist.

                • Hmmmm…what to do…respond to you or not?

                  I guess I’ll have to wait for some outside force to compel me one way or the other…

                    • Give me a minute, please…

                      I’m still waiting for that outside force to compel me to do one thing or the other.

                    • An example for you…

                      Among our greatest needs are food and water, so without free will, we should always be compelled to nourish ourselves, lest we die.

                      Yet, there are those who choose to engage in hunger strikes, to the point of death.

                    • Oh, Akai…I’m rolling my eyes here. You are a hopeless contrarian, and thus, it is senseless to continue the discussion.

                      Still, I wish you well.

                    • A short time ago, a cashier who worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland paid in a lifetimes worth of pension and took the companies share options. When the bank collapsed she was ruined and so went on to commit suicide, leaving behind a son and two grand children.
                      These, and many like them are the forgotten victims of corporate greed. But nev’ mind here’s some more smug comments from Jeff…

        • ” But I admit I prefer movies like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ ”


    • Uh…if you truly think that Chris Evans WASN’T a liberal all along, please go read his Wikipedia entry.

      Also, shame on you for dismissing what looks like a smashing movie because it doesn’t meet with your definition of political correctness.

    • How much did they pay you to write that canard? Lol

    • Sounds like John is afraid to lose his unearned money. Haha !
      What is it then, huh ? What is it with class warfare that you are AFRAID of ?

      You are not going to last

  2. Sorry but this movie looks stupid

    • Yep.

    • Yeah. You are.

  3. I have extended my stay in Seoul by 3 days mainly to see this movie. Do not much care for the political implications in it but purely for the cinematographic qualities of it. The Slum Dog Millionaire was also about the battle beween classes.

  4. Movie looks cool. Strange to here so many people against the use of a very common theme in Science Fiction. I would argue that the majority of Sci-if movies touch on the topic of social inequality. I’m trying to think of ones that doesn’t, and I’m having trouble. I’m not sure you can be a sci-if fan and not expect to see this theme explored repeatedly.

    • Aliens? Back to the Future? Matrix? Inception? Source Code? Star Trek(09)?

      • The Matrix was about inequality also, it was just portrayed between robot/computer overlords instead of financial/political ones.

        • I guess, I was thinking more along the lines of just the rich/poor issue that this movie focuses on.

          • Dystopias with enormous class inequality have been a staple of written science fiction for over a century. Perhaps you should try reading Brave New World or We or any of a couple hundred others?

        • But I guess you are right since they were AI and we were treating them badly. Everyother movie though I named is still fine.

          • Aliens has a running theme about the big corporation that funds these missions and essentially has ownership of its employees. I’m not saying one side is right or wrong, to me this is a movie discussion not a political debate. I just think if you look, that theme is ingrained in Science Fiction. I could probably argue those other movies on the list, but it is unnecessary to make my point.

            • Your digging real deep now. I let the Matrix one go, but no on Aliens.

            • Back to the future? Star Trek? Not really science Fiction, more Fantasy. And, inequality and corporate greed feature heavily in all the classics. Brave New World, Shape of Things to Come, Stranger in a Strange Land… I could go on…

      • Aliens was totally about class warfare. Had the huge corporation not been so greedy they wouldn’t have sacrificed an entire settlement in hopes of enticing a dangerous weapon. Did you watch Aliens?

  5. Geez, what’s with the politics? Whatever, it’s a movie about class warfare, but regardless of whether it’s being made by the rich 1% or the poor 99%, I’m sure everyone here is intelligent enough to judge it objectively when watching it… who cares who made it. If the movie’s good, it’s good, and if it’s not then it’s not.

    Just because it’s used as a theme in a major theatrical release doesn’t mean it’s propaganda, more likely it means that the theme is interesting. If it IS propaganda, I don’t think people are likely to be fooled. I think the movie looks potentially great, it’s got a cool sci-fi premise and the cinematography looks fantastic from what little we’ve seen.

  6. And when you look at the implied symbolism of some Sci-fi movies there are even more examples..

  7. I’ll watch any movie directed by someone named Bong. BTW, the producer is Pinch Hitter.

    • Joonho Bong’s movies
      All Korean language except Snowpiercer

      - Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000)
      - Memories of Murders (2003)
      - The Host (2006)
      - Mother (2009)
      - Snowpiercer (2014)

  8. i do not understand all comments but just watch it first. i do not want to spoil but this is not about conservatives vs people or kind of that.

  9. Looks like an interesting movie, critic seem to like. I’ll give it a try for sure. And what the hell is with the political warfare going on this comment section. I’ve seen some of the most naive and most ignorant comments on the whole rich vs poor thing. I’m just not even gonna go there. I don’t understand why people are upset or raging over the fact that this movie is using rich/poor theme, since when did that become bad. There’s all sorts of movies that cover all sorts of social issuesfrom war, to abuse to murder etc. and all of a sudden it’s about the inequality of social classes and its the end of the world for some people. Seriously then what’s the point of movies then, there are movies for entertainments, some for thought or even both. Don’t be so sensitive. I hope this movie turns out good.

    • Thank you. Glad that someone still is thinking straight.

  10. Just saw Snowpiercer in Seoul, Korea. It delivers. The theater was packed (word of mouth travels fast in Korea – a bad film will have no audience within days of release). The film engulfs you with its bleakness. The reason of why a train doesn’t unfold until later in the film. The cinematography is outstanding. Sometimes the social commentary is too obvious, the characters too “over the top” but overall I found the film well worth the time spent –I do not want to add more since it is too easy to give some of the plot turns away. I will add that if you like easy Hollywood adventure or escapism, this is not the movie for you.

  11. It’s not just about class warfare. The story is about how far humanity will go for survival. Really good film.

  12. Americans…

  13. Thank God for class warfare. It’s about the only thing that will save this rudderless world now.

    It’s about people not acting like headless chickens in the face of what is obvious and blatant.

    Don’t let the deluded tell you otherwise.

    Long live the proletariat ! Seize the engine !