The Weinstein Company only recently ended their mini-feud with Warner Bros. over the title of their upcoming biopic Lee Daniels’ The Butler, but the studio is already back in the spotlight thanks to their plans to edit the ever-loving shit out of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer before it can be seen in any of the English-speaking countries where they’re distributing it. While I can’t currently think of a legitimate reason for these cuts to be made, TwitchFilm reports the that the Weinsteins are essentially doing it because they think some Americans are too stupid to understand the film. Thanks, bros. We really appreciate that one.
Film critic and festival programmer Tony Rayns told the site, “TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa…and Oklahoma.” He goes on to say, “Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks.” I mean, perhaps it’s progressive thinking for TWC to assume our country’s most backwoods citizens are even aware of the Korean filmmaker or his films, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grasp the films themselves.
Beyond smashing Korean box office records, Snowpiercer has received very positive early reviews from outlets like TwitchFilm, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety - all of which are run by non-invalid English-speaking people – yet TWC wants to butcher 20 minutes from the film, knocking its story-heavy 126 minute runtime down to a more action-oriented 106 mins.
Rayns spoke with Bong at the Seoul premiere of the film on July 29th and learned that character development would take the brunt of the edits, and that a hackneyed detail-spewing voiceover would be inserted for both the opening and the ending of the film. Granted, Snowpiercer has a rich backstory that could be a film all on its own, but it doesn’t need to be spelled out for anyone. Bong didn’t become a highly acclaimed filmmaker by making movies about cardboard cutouts. This is a movie that deals with a bullet train populated by all levels of social class, and how that hierarchy gets undermined by some of its passengers. I guess since there aren’t any speeding trains in Oklahoma so they’d never be able to understand what's going on in the movie... or something.
The UK and possibly Australia are looking into protesting the needless edits for their countries, but it looks like Americans are just going to have to wait to see the complete film on Blu-ray many months from now. Disgusting.
Try not to get confused by the film’s trailer below, and let us know in the comments just how insulted this makes you. Maybe send an email to TWC as well.