Some Points on Snowpiercer

by criticalhit009

Snowpiercer’s ending is simple: the process/thing of capitalism is destroyed. As the Korean inventor Namgoong Minsoo observes over years on the train, life is becoming livable again outside the train (the plane is more visible, the snow is like normal snowflakes, and he does see a polar bear, as implied with the ending.) Thus the children’s voyage outside isn’t the end for them, but rather the beginning; the beginnings of humanity without capitalism. While the critique of capitalism is made in very broad strokes throughout the film, Snowpiercer is at its strongest at the beginning, where we see the plight of the lower class. It is one of the most moving things I’ve seen, an harshly accurate metaphor for capitalist oppression.

Much like the Hunger Games, the filmmakers believe a main protagonist is needed as the harbinger of change, significantly diminishing its message of the masses overthrowing capitalism. This film is like a reverse Battleship Potemkin. Whereas that film drops instigator Grigory Vakulinčuk quickly in lieu of installing the masses as the ‘main character’ so to speak, this film start with the masses of the back and slowly whittles its way down to Curtis. Curtis is an awful revolutionary, failing to set up checkpoints along the train, send conquered supplies to the back, and man more failings. I now suspect that may be an intentional comment, implying his blindness to how the system of capital works, and how it need to be destroyed instead of merely conquered, hence struggling as an impotent leader. Regardless, this does lessen the film’s revolutionary impact, at best able to elicit rudimentary consciousness for the plight of the working class.

This film could have been a blockbuster, but the reason why this film was such in limited release was because of Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein. His method of releasing films (usually foreign) is to hack and slash it in editing. The director refused to cut 20 minutes, so Weinstein did a very limited release of the film just to spite him. This had the means to impact a lot of people(it stars Captain America after all, and a well acted role as well), but was denied that chance. This is a shame, because the film has some of the more exhilarating moments I’ve seen all year, with (albeit meager) class consciousness to boot.