The Earth’s remaining inhabitants are confined to a single train circling the globe as revolution brews among the class-divided cars.
Earth has frozen over. The few humans that remain have been confined to a single, impossibly long train that takes a full year to travel across the globe. Those who couldn’t afford a ticket—and were taken onto the train out of pity—live in the back, in near squalor. The middle class and rich live farther toward the front. In between are all the cars that provide sustenance, resources and entertainment to the masses.
When yet more children are taken from the back of the train and sent to the front for who knows what, a long-brewing revolution ignites.
Chris Evans as Curtis
As someone who often got the sidekick roles early on in his career, Chris Evans plays a leader with such strength and gravitas. He’s not wearing such a tight outfit in this movie, but he’s no less of a take-charge kind of guy. Curtis is a bit of a reluctant leader, at first, but by the end of the movie it’s obvious that he was the right choice for the role all along.
Jamie Bell as Edgar
Edgar is a sidekick of sorts/little brother to Curtis, but there’s more to their relationship than one realizes at the start of the movie. Jamie plays the role well—he’s a little impetuous, and constantly out to prove himself to Curtis.
Octavia Spencer as Tanya
Tanya is the mother of one of the children who were kidnapped at the start of the film. Octavia has a gift with making the emotions of her characters visceral, and Tanya’s no exception. It broke my heart to see her pine for her son. She’s not just there for the emotional moments, however; she’s also a badass and a vital part of the revolution attempt.
Ewen Bremner as Andrew
Poor Ewen. I only remember ever seeing him in “this character is strange” kind of roles. Andrew’s not a leading man, but his role is a memorable one, and Ewen seemingly puts his all into it.
John Hurt as Gilliam
John Hurt is such a fantastic actor, and he’s been doing it for a long while. Obviously, his roles have changed through the years—he’s now (it seems) in the “former hero, current wise leader” era of his acting life. Gilliam serves as a father figure to Curtis, and has long been grooming him to take on more of a leadership role. But Gilliam isn’t as one-sided as you might think.
Tilda Swinton as Mason
Tilda Swinton, y’all. AMAZING actress, but someone I’m kind of afraid to imaging hanging out with. Not because she’s scary (although she is a little), but I’m afraid I’d just wilt under her crazy intensity and off-the-beaten-path creativity. Mason’s an oddball character, and—natch—Tilda plays her with such skill.
Alison Pill as Teacher
Don’t underestimate the cuteness of Alison, guys. She’s got a fierce side underneath that sweet smile.
Ed Harris as ??
I’m not going to say much about Ed Harris’ character—spoilers and all—but man. So charismatic, and yet so creepy.
Note: The supporting cast in this movie were also amazing, and many of them famous in countries other than America. I have just included the most familiar faces (to me) above, but apologies if you’re more familiar with some of the other actors in the film.
Couch-Sharing Capability: High
Snowpiercer is a Korean/American joint production based on a French graphic novel. It’s got a diverse cast and absolutely stunning sets. It’s a movie that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking, and it’s one of my favorite movies I saw in the past year. I think this would be a great movie to watch with your family while you’re all together for Thanksgiving, but I’d suggest you do so after the ones sitting at the kiddie table (and those with an aversion to gore) have gone to bed.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice
The plot of Snowpiercer isn’t all that complex. The society on the train is microcosm of humanity; you have your poor, your downtrodden, your enforcers, your blue-collar workers, your idealists, your people who are working “for the greater good,” your spoiled rich brats, your criminals, your faux aristocracy … But the film is definitely one that makes you think, even if you don’t realize you are. The first time I saw this was in theaters, and my husband and I—who typically are quite chatty after movies, discussing what we saw, what we thought, etc.—just sat in the car on the way home in silence, trying to digest what we’d just watched. All that to say, I wouldn’t drink during, but some might need it to ease the themes of the movie along.
There is a lot of violence, however, so I might suggest you avoid any red drinks. Or eating while watching.
Use of Your Netflix Subscription: High
Although this is a graphic novel adaptation, Snowpiercer is not a comic movie. Sure, you need to have the ability to suspend disbelief for some of the backstory, like with many comic movies, but I know most of you who read this website have a huge imagination, so you shouldn’t have any trouble jumping on board.