Snowpiercer Movie Analysis (2023)

I’m a movie enthusiast. I could sit bingeing on films and shows all day long, forgetting absolutely the concept of time. Others might think of this as a waste of time and that there are many other urgent things that someone should do. Most people who are too busy with other things in life tend to think that movies are just meaningless, and their sole purpose is entertainment. My opinion, however, is that the silver screen has abundant knowledge to offer, from moral tales to valuable life lessons. To be specific, political lessons and views can be extracted from films. There is no doubt that they might be entertaining, but dig a little bit deeper and you can see the reflection of our society. Take “Snowpiercer” into consideration how it inhabits a Marxist view and addresses the problem of class inequity. And ultimately how it is nearly impossible to solve political dilemmas.

Snowpiercer, directed by Bong Joon Ho, is set in the dystopian future when humanities’ last effort to prevent global warming backfired - like how Runciman has said: ”Governments tend to screw up complex, open-ended tasks like that” (Politics: Ideas in Profile). The Earth went into a man-made Ice Age and the last of humanity lives on a train built by a millionaire named Wilford. This little “world” on a train is where the millionaire recreated a society filled with discrimination and privileges indicated by where they live on the train: “free-loaders” live at the tail and those who paid an enormous sum of money to guarantee themselves a slot for survival live near the conductor. Due to the discrimination, abuse, and exploitation, those living at the back station planned a coup d’etat for 18 years to regain control of the train and find their salvation. What’s the result of the movie?

(Video) Why It Works: Bong Joon-ho's SNOWPIERCER | Analysis

In most fictional films, directors tend to embed Marxism into the frame of the movies’ plot. Marx’s ideas are based on “the effect of capitalism on labor, productivity, and economic development and he argues for a worker revolution to overturn capitalism in favor of communism”("Marxism: Theory, Effects, and Examples", 2021). Money is considered the main motive of social movements. However, there exists no such money in the Snowpiercer universe, the only currency that they possess are basic survival needs such as food and water. The uprisings tried to capture the water resource (their means of production) and use them as a trading tool to gain back their basic human rights. “Revolutions are the locomotives of the history” (Karl Marx, 1849), where there are oppressions and social inequality between the rich and the poor, there will be revolutions bound to happen sooner or later. The spark that ignited the uprising in Snowpiercer was cast since the inauguration of the train, at which time the poor had to turn to cannibalism to survive. Not even infants were safe from the hungry cannibalistic passengers. The matter did get elevated as the god-like Wilford eventually provided them with protein blocks to feed on, which later on they found out that these were made out of cockroaches and crickets. Harsh mistreatments and exploitations occur daily. People and children get taken away from their families for pure entertainment or used as literal mechanical parts; adults get beaten and killed with barbaric methods. Even without the existence of currencies, exploitation does not cease to exist apparently. All of the oppressions that the tail passengers had to endure became too much and soon, the sparks turned into flames. They stood up with a wish to change the leader, to force the rich to accept a new communist society where everyone will have more rights and be more equal.

All of their sufferings happened because of discrimination that spans from generation to generation. Everyone at the front of the train got all the goods and comfort that one could have. The adults went to spas and clubs, wore expensive clothes made out of fur and silk. The rich got to eat proper good food and drank wine, drenched in a luxurious lifestyle. Those living at the tail of the train, the bottom of society, have the exact opposite life: they live in poverty, famine, and are always under the oppression of security guards. The train’s second in command further declared this as she said “A shoe doesn't belong on your head. A shoe belongs on your foot. A hat belongs on your head. I am a hat. You are a shoe.” The differences between them seem to continue in the future as they saw the sight of a classroom for small kids. Rather than being taught about science, maths, and literature, they were taught to praise the one and only, Mr.Wilford. The scene resembles a cult more than a normal classroom as they sing songs about how Wilford is their savior, how he is their god. They were also taught that those living at the caboose were savages, barbarians, and no good and that they should all look down on them. The problem of discrimination is similar to our present world. In the wealthiest country exist the poorest people. While some bathe themselves in comfort and joy, others struggle to try to fend themselves with every penny they could have to continue and survive day by day. Being so different in wealth, some well-off people show disrespect towards laborers and service workers by using insults, discriminative and rude words. The necessitated people are also more targeted by the police force and face justice inequity with no defense for themselves.

(Video) Everything Wrong With Snowpiercer In 14 Minutes Or Less

Towards the end of the movie, the social dilemma does not seem resolvable anymore. The leader of the rebels, Curtis (played by Chris Evans) found out that they were part of a scheme created by Wilford and his mentor, that all of the cullings were already planned and it aims to decrease the population, to maintain an ecological balance. Their final hope for salvation was to exit the train after realizing there are no alternatives. Just like in the real world, there is no way to abolish capitalism as it has rooted itself deep into the structure of society. According to director Bong’s point of view, the only way for us to escape the power and the income inequality is “exploding the order as it exists and embarking upon something new entirely, even if that something new leads to certain death” ("The radical politics of sci-fi film Snowpiercer", 2014). In the movie, as the train exploded, that “world” ceased to exist and opened up a new future as the last two survivors voyage into the primitive world like Adam and Eve. There is no foreseeable future for the last two survivors of humanity and what danger they may encounter. The last frame of the movie was a polar bear, indicating the restoration of the environment as well as the possible re-establishment of a new society that the last of us will possibly create. Back in the real world, it is impossible to simply blow up capitalist societies or demand for everyone to accept communism as it would create mass chaos everywhere, leading to mass destruction and the end of humanity as we know it. Greed and pride are deeply engraved into humans' nature as they are among the “Seven Deadly Sins”, therefore, it is impossible for every citizen in the world to be selfless, to be comfortable with being equal to others. Were there a time when people are truly equal, someone could still rebel and demand for more, to surpass others, thus, the cycle once again repeats itself.

Films can be very intriguing and alluring while politics usually appear to be very dry and distant from us. However, politics is present all around us and it is crucial to actively engage in the world of politicians to ensure a more stable and prosperous future. So the possible alternative method to learning about politics might be putting both together and one can create masterpieces that are not only interesting to watch but also convey provoking political messages and lessons towards audiences. For it to be effective, one should always watch movies with an analytical set of mind and always pay attention to the most indiscernible details that the directors have to offer.

(Video) Snowpiercer: The Artist As Historian

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What is the message of the movie Snowpiercer? ›

It's a commentary on our global socioeconomic structure as well as a statement regarding our futility against the powers of nature. More than anything, however, the film has an even more radical underlying message: The only way to fix social inequality is to destroy the very foundations of our society.

Is the Snowpiercer show as good as the movie? ›

TNT's Snowpiercer show is better than the movie, except for one big problem. TNT's new Snowpiercer adaptation of the French graphic novel than inspired Bong Joon-ho's film goes deeper into this post-apocalypse than ever before.

What did the ending of Snowpiercer mean? ›

LJ chose to stay on Snowpiercer, with only her deceased father's spare fake eye as company, to take power back from Cavill after Wilford's banishment. It's a sickening form of poetic justice when she swallows and chokes on the eyeball, as she was the one who initially poked it out.

What does the Korean guy say in Snowpiercer? ›

Namgoong Minsoo : [in Korean] You know what I really want? I want to open the gate... but not this gate. That one. The gate to the outside world.

Why did they cut the fish in Snowpiercer? ›

When the fish is first introduced, it's as a threat, an omen of the violence to come: the masked soldiers use their axes to cut it open and spread the blood on their blades. Then, when you reintroduce the fish, its function in the narrative has changed.

Why did they take Timmy in Snowpiercer? ›

We don't know how many children were taken in total, and all their responsibilities, but the two we know - Timmy and Andy - were taken to keep the train running. They were manual replacements to broken parts of the mechanism in the engine room.

What's in the protein bars in Snowpiercer? ›

Rather than gelatinized cockroaches, the bars are made from cricket flour, and a mix of peanuts, strawberries, oats, flaxseed, and other whole foods. They're actually delicious, and based on our PB&J flavor. You can try them here for 30% off with the coupon code SNOWPIERCER.

What is the difference between Snowpiercer movie and series? ›

The TV series is a prequel

The TV series takes place seven years prior to the movie, so audiences could be watching the revolution Curtis was talking about. If that's the case, Curtis is a young man at the back of the train, watching Andre Layton lead an army of Tailies on a dangerous mission to the front.

How many cars long is Snowpiercer in the movie? ›

Welcome to the apocalypse. The last remnants of humanity must live on a perpetually moving 10-mile-long, 1001-car train, dubbed Snowpiercer, which circumnavigates the ice-covered globe.

Why does Snowpiercer circle the globe? ›

Its constant movement helps to convert snow into water which is vital for the survival of everyone on board. Also, if the train were to stop, then everyone would freeze and die — not good, considering the world is completely covered in ice.

What do they eat in Snowpiercer? ›

Source. Protein Bars are rectangular bars of sustenance commmonly used as food throughout the Tail of Snowpiercer; the bars are are commonly rationed in an effort to make them last. The bars are delivered to the Tail by Guards, but Tailies are free to use them as they please; including stockpiling.

How long does it take Snowpiercer to make one revolution? ›

Snowpiercer circles the globe 2.7 times a year, and every "revolution" is about 133 days. 6 years and 10 months after it left Chicago, Snowpiercer already made 18 revolutions and was about to begin its 19th in episode 994 Cars Long.

What does the polar bear symbolize in Snowpiercer? ›

The now-frozen earth has become a fairytale on the train; when two children step outside for the first time, they are greeted by a polar bear that seems to signify nature's resilience in the face of disaster.

Does New Eden exist in Snowpiercer? ›

New Eden is a small rocky region located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Arabian Penninsula. While Andre Layton's visions presented New Eden as a warm savanna, the area is actually still cold enough to have snow, and no plants are in sight.

Why does Wilford allow the people in the tail of the train to remain impoverished? ›

Wilford purposely allows the people in the tail of the train to remain without solid food or suitable living conditions in order that they will continue to have children who can work in the engine, but also have a lower life expectancy and live more chaotic existences in order to balance the number of people on the ...

What is Kronole drug? ›

The drug is manufactured from the suspension drug used in medicine for those put to sleep in The Drawers. The drug has numerous effects with the most notable being the ability to block pain receptors; according to Oz, Kronole is so powerful it blocks out all feelings, not just pain.

Who are the guys with axes in Snowpiercer? ›

Notable members. Jackboots were Snowpiercer's (and Big Alice's) Security Force, acting as the army of the train.

Is LJ found guilty in Snowpiercer? ›

(Curiously, no one asks why the detective who solved the crime and heard LJ's confession isn't on the stand!) And then, a twisty verdict: The tribunal finds her “guilty on all counts,” but a message from “Mr. Wilford” pardons her as a result of her tender age.

What are they doing to the baby in Snowpiercer? ›

The most likely scenario is that Mr. Wilford is experimenting on Zarah's womb to make Layton's baby cold immune like Icy Bob (Andre Tricoteaux), who was a hulking brute loyal to Mr. Wilford. If so, the child would literally be the next generation of "cold warriors" Layton has bred.

What happened to the little boy in Snowpiercer? ›

He was later poisoned with a tangerine by Josie Wellstead for him to be updated on the rebellion and Miles promises to do his part when the time comes. After Josie's death, he was taken by Melanie to the Engine Room, apparently unaware that Josie was dead.

Are Yona and Timmy the only survivors? ›

He and Yona are the only confirmed survivors of the train after it was destroyed in the crash at the end of the movie. He was born in 2025 on the train.

What did Wilford do to Kevin? ›

Wilford hands him a razor and Kevin acknowledges what Wilford wants him to do. He is reluctant but slits his wrist with it and bleeds in the bathtub under Mr. Wilford's watch.

Why do they feed the rats in Snowpiercer? ›

There is absolutely no direct scene where anyone in the episode is eating rats but what is implied is that they are breeding them.

What is the black food they eat in Snowpiercer? ›

In case you didn't know, in the movie Snowpiercer the people on the back of the train eat exclusively these black, gelatin-like protein bars. In the 2nd act of the film we find out that they are actually made of cockroaches.

› ending-snowpiercer-explained ›

Sci-fi action movie Snowpiercer is widely acclaimed but left quite a few folks scratching their heads. But now we're here to explain exactly what's goin...

Snowpiercer › wiki › Snowpiercer › wiki › Snowpiercer
Snowpiercer is a 2013 post-apocalyptic science fiction action film based on the French climate fiction graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin...

Snowpiercer Wiki | Fandom › wiki › Snowpiercer › wiki › Snowpiercer
Snowpiercer is a large train manufactured and run by Wilford Industries. It continually circles the globe with the remains of human civilization following the g...

Why does Wilford allow the people in the tail of the train to remain impoverished? ›

Wilford purposely allows the people in the tail of the train to remain without solid food or suitable living conditions in order that they will continue to have children who can work in the engine, but also have a lower life expectancy and live more chaotic existences in order to balance the number of people on the ...

What is the food made of in Snowpiercer? ›

The protein bars are made up of cockroaches shown in a scene where the cockroaches are ground up in a machine which Curtis Everett looked into.


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