Joon-ho Bong’s unprecedented combination of stunning combat, stylistic eccentricities and dramatic poignancy is so rich and enthralling, there’s no way one viewing of “Snowpiercer” will ever be enough.
In an effort to thwart global warming, a chemical called CW-7 is released into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2014. Soon thereafter, the temperature plummets and the world is consumed by snow and ice. “Snowpiercer” begins in 2031, 17 years after the only survivors entered Wilford’s self-contained safe haven, a train that circles the globe once every calendar year and is sustained by a perpetual-motion engine. On that train, passengers are separated by class. The wealthy indulge in parties, fancy clothing and sushi up front while the rest are secluded to the tail, forced to live in tiny compartments and live off of unappetizing protein blocks. However, the time for change has come and Curtis (Chris Evans) has a plan to take over the front.
“Snowpiercer” is a downright mesmerizing display of hardship, combat and magnificent environments. Bong does an exceptional job developing the world, every member of the cast delivers a wholehearted performance and cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong churns out one exceptionally picturesque and telling shot after the next. There are some plot holes and believability issues in the mix, but everything else bears such an all-consuming quality that it’s nearly impossible to pull yourself out of the film long enough to assess those issues, keeping them from effecting the overall experience.
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After catching a disaster film, my family always gets a laugh out of trying to figure out exactly what each of us would do in a time of crisis and I’m proud to say that the odds are generally on me to survive. However, if I ever found myself in the situation presented in Perfect Sense, I might just spare myself the stress and put an end to it before my time is really up. Then again, that probably has to do with the bleak and disheartening tone of the film more than anything.
Eva Green stars as Susan, a scientist living right near the restaurant where Ewan McGregor’s Michael is head chef. A little Romeo and Juliet-esque flirting ensues and they fall for each other. However, their intense passion for one another is somewhat tainted when the world is hit by a virus that causes people to lose their senses one by one. The first to go is smell and while it’s a sad thing to lose, the world recovers. When taste slips away, things get tougher, but people adapt, Michael altering his menu accordingly, putting more emphasis on texture rather than aiming to please a person’s palate.
That’s about it in the synopsis department because, well, you can probably figure out where it goes from there. Perfect Sense packs a particularly intriguing and disturbing core concept, but doesn’t really do much with it. The film is a one-way road to darkness. The lead character is a scientist and yet the effort to cure this disease is nearly nonexistent, which leaves the viewer with nothing to root for. Lacking even the slightest bit of hope, Perfect Sense is somewhat like watching someone with a terminal illness just slip away.
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