Seven years after the dawn of a new Ice Age, the last remnants of humanity survive aboard a perpetually moving train that circles the globe.
Riding the success of Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho, serving as executive producer, breathes new life to his troubled 2013 flick. Tensions between Ho and Weinstein caused the movie to have a limited release which impacted its box office. Now with the former out of the way, and with Netflix’s backing Snowpiercer has been given the series treatment.
My review of 2013’s Snowpiercer was more than positive, nitpicks were small, but I always hoped there would be sequels or prequels since there’s enough source material due to the original French comics.
Here we’re given a fast-paced intro, chronicling how our protagonist Andrew Layton ( Daveed Diggs ) manages to board the ten-mile long train. It’s bloody and brutal and sets the tone just right.
Cut to seven “revolutions” later where the train has circled the globe seven times. Class systems have been put in place. First-class for the elite who paid the price of admission is in the front of the train with all the luxuries on offer, second class for doctors scientists, the third class for guards and so forth.
Layton and his group of “Tailies” 400 of them they say but at times seems no less than 100, are planning their next revolt in hopes of making it to the front. Layton though, a former detective is brought upfront once mutilated bodies start to appear in third and second class.
Tilda Swinton’s maniacal and brilliant take in 2013’s SP as Mason has been split between Jennifer Connelly as Melanie Cavill, the only direct link to the mysterious Mr Wilson and Alison Wright as Beth.
Mr Wilson, for the most part, is off-screen having taken a god-like persona while the passengers pray to him and the train daily. The series does well in expanding the mythos while also leaving us, or this reviewer, in particular, craving for a bit more.
For instance, there’s a backstory mentioned about a struggle in the Tail between Layton and a group of cannibals. We’re told about it, we see a few snippets but at times I would have preferred to see an episode dedicated to that conflict. No doubt the writing is on point and nearly every character is fleshed out but at times it does feel like a bit of filler until we get to the next bump in the road, or track for that matter.
Connelly, the most seasoned actor here steals most of the show, balancing ice-cold ruthlessness to full vulnerability in the blink of an eye. Diggs coming off his Hamilton success does well as Layton and the guide for the audience, figuring things out the same time we do. Twists and turns are aplenty some have the impact some just bounce right off or were obvious from the start.
Overall the show is well executed in every aspect. The exterior train and frozen earth effects are impressive although at times the width of the train can trick the eye especially when one of the cars is a full-on night-club. Keeping with the tradition of the original, the fight sequences are bloody and energy driven.
Rides along well with 2013’s original, expanding the story in some places. All new characters and plots are welcome and with that cliffhanger, I’m down with season 2.
Snowpiercer Season 1 is available to stream now on Netflix.