As rumours abound that Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar winning Parasite will receive the streaming/TV treatment at some point, one of his earlier movies, Snowpiercer from 2013, already has.
If you aren’t familiar with the film, and it would be fair enough given the pain it went through before getting anything like a release, the series follows the same tracks, ish anyway, although takes place prior to the 2013 movie.
We are in the future and, in an attempt to reverse the global warming man has brought to the planet, they fire rockets into the sky. Instead of reversing things though, they end up freezing the planet.
The temperature drops to a barmy minus 199.6 degrees centigrade, or thereabouts, and the only person who had any foresight to do anything about this was a certain Mr. Wilford, of Wilford Industries.
Mr. Wilford built a train, but not just any train, this train is 1,001 cars long and continuously travels around the planet, non-stop.
Originally the train was just the for the rich and famous, a sort of apocalyptic Orient Express, but when it was set for departure, a whole host of those who couldn’t get tickets, who couldn’t afford tickets, stormed the train.
Many were killed by security, shot dead as they tried to board, some were thrown as it was moving. But a few, enough, managed to survive and make some kind of life for themselves in the tail of the train, hence they are known as ‘tailies’.
On board the train we have Melanie, Jennifer Connelly (“Alita: Battle Angel”, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”), who is head of customer services. She makes the announcements on the train and ensures the passengers are having a good time. She also does other things, but I’ll let you discover that.
In the rear we have Andre Layton, Daveed Diggs (“Wonder”, “Ferdinand”), who has a son, Miles, Jalin Fletcher (“Postmarked (Short)”, “Saturday Church”), and a partner Josie, Katie McGuinness (“Roots (TV)”, “The Borgias (TV)”).
We learn that five years have passed since the train first set off. The tailies are tolerated but their rations are constantly reduced and, occasionally, they are thrown from the train and are being sterilised.
They are planning an attack, an attempt to move further up the train to the ‘have’s’ in third class. But just as they’re about to go, someone from customer services turns up and takes Layton away.
It transpires that in his previous life Layton was a homicide detective and, lucky for him, he’s the only one onboard the train and there’s been a murder.
Melanie wants him to help solve it, she, and many of those around her, think he’ll jump at the chance to get out of the tail, but Layton isn’t so keen, he wants to do what he can to save those that are still back there.
With Layton gone, the tailies make a break for it, defeating many guards but they are penned in by some bad-ass troopers. Layton intervenes and manages to talk the remaining tailers down and get the guard they had hostage back.
In exchange he convinces them to go into the ‘drawers’, suspended animation, whilst he figures out how to set them free and make a run for the engine.
This episode was directed by Scott Derrickson (“Doctor Strange”, “Sinister”) with reshoots by James Hawes (“Black Mirror (TV)”, “Raised By Wolves (TV)”), and the whole series is based on the series of books titled “Le Transperceneige“, which has been taken by Graeme Manson (“Orphan Black (TV)”, “Rent-a-Goalie (TV)”) and written for TV.
It’s a good start, the whole class system issues remain, and Connelly comes across well as the ever in control woman running the train.
17th May 2020
THE QUICK SELL
Snowpiercer, the Great Ark Train, has kept the last remnants of humanity alive for almost seven years. A rigid class system maintains order, with First Class holding power over workers, while a condemned Prison Class struggles to survive in the Tail
TV / STREAMING PLATFORM