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Trains have played a central part in some of cinema’s most engaging mystery thrillers. A short list would read Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express, Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, and Brad Anderson’s Transsiberian. No matter how long that list gets, however, it will never include Joseph Ruben’s Money Train.
The next entry on that list, however, could be Bong Joon-ho’s upcoming Snowpiercer, which has released its ominous first poster, as seen below courtesy of Twitch The sci-fi thriller, based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, takes place during an Ice Age brought about by failed efforts to stop global warming, where all of Earth’s remaining survivors travel aboard the Snow Piercer, a non-stop train powered by perpetual motion.
The train cars’ passengers are separated by a class system that pits the lower rungs of humanity near the back of the train, where a revolt begins to form. The poster does a great job of conveying this social split, where a group of blurry faces are contrasted against a single man, probably John Hurt, standing above them all. Judging from his clothes, it’s unclear whether he’s this group’s leader or their antagonist, but he sure is tall, isn’t he?
Joon-ho’s treasure-filled filmography is full of difficult conflicts, whether it’s the cops vs. a serial killer in Memories of Murder or a goofy dad vs. a giant monster in The Host. This will be his first time with such a large cast of stars, including the aforementioned Hurt as well as Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ewen Bremner, Jamie Bell, and Octavia Spencer, and his first with a budget as large as $40 million. But considering how monumental The Host looked with just $11 million, Snowpiercer might be one of the best looking thrillers this year, as well as one that resonates particularly strongly in this socially polarized country. Just don’t describe it as “Crash meets the end of Speed.”