Snowpiercer

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Snowpiercer
Snowpiercer poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBong Joon-ho
Produced byPark Chan-wook
Lee Tae-hun
Park Tae-jun
Dooho Choi
Robert Bernacchi
David Minkowski
Matthew Stillman
Screenplay byBong Joon-ho
Kelly Masterson
Story byBong Joon-ho
Based onLe Transperceneige 
by Jacques Lob
Benjamin Legrand
Jean-Marc Rochette
StarringChris Evans
Kang-ho Song
Go Ah-sung
Jamie Bell
Alison Pill
John Hurt
Tilda Swinton
Octavia Spencer
Ed Harris
Music byMarco Beltrami[1]
CinematographyHong Kyung-pyo
Edited bySteve M. Choe
Changju Kim
Production
  company
  • Moho Films
  • Opus Picture[2]
Distributed byRadius-TWC
CJ Entertainment
(South Korea)
Release date(s)August 1, 2013
(South Korea)
June 27, 2014
(United States)
Running time125 minutes
CountrySouth Korea[2]
United States
LanguageEnglish
Korean
Budget$39.2 million (estimated)[3]
Box office$80,039,541[4]
 
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Snowpiercer
Snowpiercer poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBong Joon-ho
Produced byPark Chan-wook
Lee Tae-hun
Park Tae-jun
Dooho Choi
Robert Bernacchi
David Minkowski
Matthew Stillman
Screenplay byBong Joon-ho
Kelly Masterson
Story byBong Joon-ho
Based onLe Transperceneige 
by Jacques Lob
Benjamin Legrand
Jean-Marc Rochette
StarringChris Evans
Kang-ho Song
Go Ah-sung
Jamie Bell
Alison Pill
John Hurt
Tilda Swinton
Octavia Spencer
Ed Harris
Music byMarco Beltrami[1]
CinematographyHong Kyung-pyo
Edited bySteve M. Choe
Changju Kim
Production
  company
  • Moho Films
  • Opus Picture[2]
Distributed byRadius-TWC
CJ Entertainment
(South Korea)
Release date(s)August 1, 2013
(South Korea)
June 27, 2014
(United States)
Running time125 minutes
CountrySouth Korea[2]
United States
LanguageEnglish
Korean
Budget$39.2 million (estimated)[3]
Box office$80,039,541[4]

Snowpiercer (Korean: 설국열차; hanja: 雪國列車; RR: Seolgugyeolcha) is a 2013 South Korean-American science fiction action film based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette.[2] The film is directed by Bong Joon-ho,[5][6] and written by Bong and Kelly Masterson. The film marks Bong's English-language debut; approximately 80% of the film was shot in English.[7][8]

The film stars Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Go Ah-sung, Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris.

Plot[edit]

In 2014, an experiment to counteract global warming causes an ice age that kills nearly all life on Earth. The only survivors are the inhabitants of the Snowpiercer, a massive train, powered by a perpetual-motion engine, that travels on a globe-spanning track. A class system is installed, with the elites inhabiting the front of the train and poor inhabiting the tail.

In 2031, the tail inhabitants prepare for the latest in a series of rebellions. Guards arrive periodically to deliver protein blocks for food, and take some of the children. During the guards’ next visit, Curtis leads the tail inhabitants in revolt, forcing their way through several train cars to the prison section. There, they release prisoner Namgoong Minsu, the man who built the doors dividing each car, and his daughter Yona. They offer him Kronol, an addictive drug, as payment for unlocking the remaining doors.

One of the cars is filled with armed men. Under the orders of Minister Mason, the men battle Curtis' forces; Curtis' side prevails, and he captures Mason, but he is forced to sacrifice his second-in-command, Edgar, to do so. Mason agrees to lead the group through the high-class cars in exchange for her life. In the school car, the teacher and a henchman draw machine guns, slaughtering many of Curtis' followers, and executing his mentor Gilliam; Curtis kills Mason for revenge.

Curtis, his few remaining followers, and Namgoong and Yona continue through the train, discovering the extravagance in which the elites have been living while the poor wallowed in squalor. One of Mason's henchmen, Franco the Elder, kills the rest of Curtis' followers before the henchman is himself seemingly killed. Curtis resolves to complete his mission, accompanied by Namgoong and Yona. The trio moves through the remaining cars where the elite indulge in food, partying and Kronol; Namgoong steals much of this Kronol from the inebriated revellers. As they arrive at the Engine door, Namgoong suggests they use the collected Kronol, made from explosive chemical waste, to blow open the side of the train, and escape into the outside; Namgoong explains that every year, the train has passed a crashed plane buried in snow, which has become less buried with each passing year, suggesting that Earth is warming, and that survival outside is now possible.

Curtis explains why he must confront Wilford, creator of the train and its hierarchy. When the tail dwellers first boarded the train, they were deprived of food, water, or supplies, in crowded conditions, forcing them to turn to cannibalism. Before the introduction of the protein blocks, Curtis had kidnapped an infant Edgar to eat him, and killed his mother, before Gilliam cut his own arm off and offered it in Edgar's place. Namgoong resolves to use the explosive, but the engine door opens and Namgoong is shot and wounded by Wilford's assistant Claude, who forces Curtis inside. Wilford explains that the revolution was orchestrated between himself and Gilliam as a means of population control, necessary to maintaining balance aboard the train for supplies, but Curtis was too successful and Wilford's own losses too great, so he executed Gilliam as punishment. The aging Wilford says that he wants Curtis to replace him as the train's overseer, while in the tail, Wilford's henchmen execute all but 18% of inhabitants.

Meanwhile, Yona and the recovered Namgoong fight off the irate partiers and Mason's returned henchman. Yona kills Claude, gets inside the engine room and pulls up the floor to reveal that Wilford is using the tail children as slave labor, to replace the train's failing components. Outraged, Curtis sacrifices his arm to block the train gears, freeing one of the children, Timmy. Yona recovers the explosive from Claude and ignites it, before retreating into the engine with Namgoong. The damaged engine door fails to close, and Namgoong and Curtis sacrifice themselves to shield Yona and Timmy from the resulting explosive fire. The explosion sound wave causes an avalanche in the surrounding mountains that strikes and derails the train, destroying many of the cars and possibly killing everyone inside of them. In the aftermath, Yona and Timmy step outside into the snow. In the distance Yona spots a polar bear, revealing that life exists outside the train.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In late 2004, Bong visited his regular comic book shop in Hongdae area, Seoul during pre-production of The Host. He found Jean-Marc Rochette's French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige and finished reading the entire series while standing in front of the bookshelf, where he found it. He was fascinated by ideas of people struggling on the train for survival, and every cabin is classified in social stratification. Bong showed the series to his friend, fellow director Park Chan-wook, who loved it as well. In 2005, Park's production company Moho Films secured the screen rights to the series for Bong.[15]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on April 16, 2012, and was shot in Barrandov Studios, Prague, Czech Republic[3] and Tyrol, Austria.[16] It officially wrapped on July 14, 2012, and post-production was carried out in South Korea.[3][16]

Release[edit]

Snowpiercer was released on August 1, 2013, in South Korea.[2]

According to Box Office Mojo, Snowpiercer is scheduled for a limited release on June 27, 2014, in the United States, and will be distributed by Radius-TWC.[4] The American rights were acquired by Harvey Weinstein in 2012, based on the script and some completed footage, with a plan for wide release in the United States and Canada. However, it was reported that Weinstein wanted to trim several minutes from the end of the film, which led to a dispute with the filmmaker. In February 2014 it was agreed that the film would remain intact at 125 minutes, but there would be a platform release, meaning the film would open in only in major markets, expanding in distribution only if sales showed promise.[17]

The film's UK premiere took place at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 22 June 2014.[18]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Early reviews for Snowpiercer were positive. On film aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 90% rating, with an average score of 7.3/10, based on reviews from twenty critics.[19]

Box office[edit]

Since its South Korean opening the film has earned US$53.6 million.[20] With 9,350,141 admissions it is currently (as of April 2014) the 10th highest-grossing domestic film in South Korea.[21] The movie holds the domestic record for the fastest movie (domestic and foreign) to reach 4 million admissions, which it achieved in its fifth day after premiere, and another record for the highest weekend figure (from Friday to Sunday) for a Korean film with 2.26 million viewers.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Film Music Reporter (2012-05-04). "Marco Beltrami to score "Snowpiercer" and "Warm Bodies"". Film Scoring Assignments.  Retrieved on 2012-05-07
  2. ^ a b c d Elley, Derek (February 2, 2014). "Snowpiercer". Film Business Asia. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Noh, Jean (2012-07-17). "Bong Joon-ho wraps Snow Piercer in Prague". Screen International. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  4. ^ a b "Snowpiercer (2014)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ Young-gyo, Kim (2008-05-27). "Film adaptation of French dystopian comic to go global: Bong". Yonhap. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  6. ^ Weintraub, Steve (2009-10-12). "Exclusive: Bong Joon-ho Talks About His Next Film SNOW PIERCER". Collider.com.  Retrieved on 2011-06-30
  7. ^ Paquet, Darcy (2013-04-30). "What SNOWPIERCER Means to the Korean Film Industry: PART 1 – The summit of KOREAN Film's ambition". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  8. ^ Bechervaise, Jason (2013-04-30). "BONG Joon-ho, Director of SNOWPIERCER: PART 2 – INTERVIEW "I wanted to make a very exciting train and sci-fi movie"". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (2012-01-13). "Chris Evans warms to 'Snow Piercer'". Variety.  Retrieved on 2012-01-16
  10. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (2012-01-17). "Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell Join Snow Piercer". Variety.  Retrieved on 2012-01-17
  11. ^ Chilton, Martin (2012-01-18). "John Hurt: Your life is your own property". The Telegraph.  Retrieved on 2009-01-26
  12. ^ White, James (2012-02-02). "Octavia Spencer Boards Snow Piercer". Empire.  Retrieved on 2012-02-08
  13. ^ Weintraub, Steve (2012-09-21). "Chris Evans Talks THE ICEMAN, SNOWPIERCER, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, THOR 2, AVENGERS, His Marvel Contract, Future Roles, More!". Collider.com.  Retrieved on 2012-09-22
  14. ^ "LOB, LEGRAND & ROCHETTE'S "SNOWPIERCER" ARRIVES IN AMERICA". 
  15. ^ 민병선 (2011-08-16). "단독 프랑스 만화 각색한 ‘설국열차’ 400억대작 이끄는 봉준호 감독". Donga Ilbo online.  (in Korean). Retrieved on 2012-05-14
  16. ^ a b "Snowpiercer in Tirol". Cine Tirol Film Commission. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (06 February 2016). "Bong Joon-Ho And Harvey Weinstein Reach Truce On ‘Snowpiercer’". Deadline Hollywood (PMC). Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Snowpiercer \". Retrieved 23 June 2014.  Text "2014 Programme" ignored (help)
  19. ^ "Snowpiercer (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ Stephen Cremin (2013-08-22). "South Korean thrillers take 90% market share". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  21. ^ "List of highest-grossing domestic films in South Korea". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  22. ^ "Box Office: July 25-August 7, 2013". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 

External links[edit]