The best movie you will not see this year is more than likely “Snowpiercer”. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, “Snowpiercer” is the story of a perpetual motion train that holds all of the world’s inhabitants. In order to slow global warming, the governments of the world take some rather inventive and drastic measures. But…you guessed it: they screwed it up. The world is now experiencing extreme global cooling and anyone outside is immediately frozen to death. What results is the creation of a train, dubbed Snowpiercer, invented by a mysterious man named Mr. Wilfred. The people who have not perished due to the “global warming solution” fiasco are now aboard the train and humanity is saved. Yay! Unfortunately, not everyone on the train is treated equally. The poor are situated in the back while the rich are living the good life in the front cars.
The rest of the movie provides a narrative that the poor aboard the train are finally fed up, and vote for revolution. Plans are made, roles are assigned and our heroes go to work. Unfortunately, the rich have plans too. Horribly evil and well made plans. As the movie progresses, our protagonists make some heroic and necessary sacrifices for the greater good. Each sacrifice provides a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy passengers of the train and our heroes are not only astonished, but saddened by the wealth that the rich have horded. This knowledge also paves way to the feeling that our heroes must continue to make personal sacrifices in order to provide for the rest of their impoverished brethren.
The theme that permeates throughout the movie is: “Know your place and be patient. Those in power know what’s best for you”. But MOST…**scratch that**…ALL of the time, they do not. Every period in human history proves that. Time and time again, we continue to live under the notion that incremental change is necessary and just be patient (as a political science major, social worker and fan of Joseph Stiglitz, this theory stinks to high heaven). Change occurs because it has to. Not because it sort of wants to. “Snowpiercer” brings all that to the forefront. The LGBT equality movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, and every other “we need our goddamn rights” movement, were born out of that idea. I don’t think you will meet a single human being living under a repressive law or regime state they actually enjoy it without a measure of fear. Because if you do, I call bulls%^t.
“Snowpiercer”, like most movies of this caliber, seems to state that violent revolution is always necessary in these situations–see: “1984 (book and movie)”, “V” for “Vendetta” (graphic novel and movie), “Elysium”, “The Hunger Games” (books and movies) and every Rambo movie. If the men and a very, very, very small percentage of women in charge fail to provide us with change, why should we wait?
“Snowpiercer” isn’t necessarily a cautious tale for the rich. Contrary to what Fox News tells you, there is no war on the 1%. And quite frankly, my years as a social worker have taught me that the poor do not care about the 1%. They (and me in some cases) are more concerned about their next rental/mortgage payment, student loan debt, an imprisoned relative, truant student(s), and/or gun violence. That’s in addition to regular robberies and murder.
Rather, “Snowpiercer” is a tale of how time and time again, the good of the world will always come from those who suffer the most. And to tell you the truth, that’s a powerful message.
Sources/Credit and Links: Featured image via “Snowpiercer” Movie Official Site