Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Kane and The Ancient One Ride The Steampunk Infinity Train, or Thoughts on Snowpiercer

From the French graphic novel Le Transperceniege by Jaques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette and Korean director Bong Joon-ho, Snowpierecer (2013) is a claustrophobic, confusing and bleak dystopian action movie with an incredibly intriguing premise: a long train containing the last remnants of humanity (Battlestar Galactica!) circling the world, which has fallen into permanent winter.  After a generation, the train society de-evolves into a class war between the elite front passengers and the working class/huddled masses of the rear section.  And let me tell you, audience sympathy is firmly on the side of the downtrodden rear passengers; after the scenes of casual brutality and child kidnappings you can’t wait for these people to revolt and take over the train, and there’s your movie.  Visually stylish, it’s nice to see the cars get more opulent and less industrial as they make their way towards the engine, amidst all the fighting.
With an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, who reunites with former co-star John Hurt from Only Lovers Left Alive  (2013) as Minister Mason and Gilliam, two opposing forces on opposite ends of the train.  Minister Mason is the Dolores Umbridge of the train, while John Hurt, well, to continue the metaphor, is basically Dumbledore.  Also starring Chris Evans/Captain America as Curtis, the leader of the revolution, Song Kang-ho as the train security expert and Ed Harris,  The Man in Black, as Minister Wilfred, the man behind the curtain.  
Reminiscent of Waterworld (1995) but with snow and a dash of Metropolis (1927), Soylent Green (1973) Brazil (1985) and Train to Busan (2016), I am certain the science and politics of the train are elaborated and explained better in the graphic novel, but I couldn’t be bothered to read it.
The late, great John Hurt  had a stellar career included appearances as Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant (1975), Caligula in I, Claudius (1976), John Merrick in The Elephant Man (1980), Winston Smith in 1984 (1984, with Richard Burton), Ben Devereaux in The Skeleton Key  (2005) in addition to more recent roles in Hellboy (2004), V for Vendetta (2005), Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and as Garrick Ollivander in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010).  But he always got a free pass from me for playing Kane in Alien (1979).  

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).