At turns wonderfully evocative, spectacularly heavy-handed, and frustratingly impotent. Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer (2013) skillfully realizes a fantastically dystopian setting drawn from the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige (1982) where all of humanity lives on a single train powered by an eternal engine. Within, the temporary institution of the certain kind of class which accompanies our travels embraces its etymological fullness, as the materially oppressive confines of humanity’s daily life.
The biggest mystery of the movie, and others in its genre, is the surprising lack of any kind of motivation for the Earth’s rehabilitation. In speaking only to the broadest (tangible) imaginations of this unwanted preservation of the visible status quo, we are continually forced to confront cowardly capitalists and unambitious aristocrats. But if our real history is any guide, humanity is shaped by rather more insidious structures which pour continuously over a world of profitable possibilities.