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Snowpiercer

Year: 2013
Production Co: Snowpiercer
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Writer: Joon-ho Bong.Kelly Masterson
Cast: Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner

Snowpiercer loses a little bit moving to the small screen – the cramped confines of the titular train are a little too confined scaled down to 4:3, so make sure you watch it on the largest screen you can. It's ironic considering Joon-Ho Bong's sci-fi adventure did better business on VOD than it did after in cinemas, where it sank like a stone.

Underneath it's like a hundred other dystopian world movies inspired by and driven by anger at the 99 percent gone too far. But the device that propels the people of this extraordinary world (and the world itself) is also a narrative device, the train itself the basis for moving up in the world.

Down the back the conditions are appalling, with people half-starved and kept in line by Gestapo-like police commanded by a brutal government hierarchy. The further forward the heroes move, the better things get until those in the forward carriages are living the most obscene opulence. In fact until they reach a kindergarten carriage where the children of the rich are indoctrinated with the party line, the dingy, grimy conditions all look the same.

Curtis (Chris Evans) is helping to plan and execute a rebellion against the powers that be in the uppermost carriages. As they press forward they have to hack and carve their way through a series of attempts to hold them back, many of them surprisingly bloody for the genre.

Plot-wise it's a fairly familiar retread of the videogame aesthetic, battling through ever more dangerous adversaries to the boss level. But both the visuals and the world the characters live in are inventive, the action is blistering and some very big names give their performances everything they have. It's not entirely successful but it's the best version of this story it can be.

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