Snowpiercer

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Snowpiercer Movie Poster Image
Brutal post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller has big themes.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 126 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The train is set up like a miniature country, where certain numbers of people are kept in poverty simply to keep the economy and resources in balance; the poor people could be helped, but they aren't. One character learns to be a leader, even though he doesn't necessarily believe in himself at first. And a secondary character thinks outside the box, literally. He dreams of escaping the entire system and starting afresh; the two characters have different solutions to the problem of poverty and repression.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One character learns to be a leader even though he doesn't initially believe in himself. A powerful female character is shown to be just as strong as any man. Characters work together extremely well to attain a difficult goal.

Violence

Very brutal and bloody. Guards beat up an old woman and take children away from their parents. Many characters are violently beaten or shot during many assorted fights, brawls, and battles. Some are executed point blank; key characters die, and the overall body count is high. Characters fight with axes, knives, guns, and other weapons. Blood is shown dribbling and spurting. A man's arm is shoved through a hole in the train; after a few minutes, it freezes solid, and the bad guys shatter it. There's a gross-out scene involving some bugs. Children are shown to be brainwashed in a "school" car, and other children are forced to be laborers. Some disturbing dialogue about cannibalism. There's a huge crash.

Sex

Some bathing suit-clad women are briefly seen lounging in hot tubs and pools.

Language

"F--k" and its various permutations are used a few times, plus "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "bastards," "damn," "crap," and English slang like "shite."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are highly addicted to a fictitious drug called "Kronol," which one character describes as "industrial waste." Chunks of Kronol are stolen and used as bargaining chips. A character has saved two cigarettes, and they're smoked at various points, with characters eagerly savoring every deep drag. Characters are seen sipping wine and champagne in a background way.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Snowpiercer is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie with frequent brutal fighting and violence: There's shooting, spurting blood, guns, knives, axes, and a scene of torture in which a character's arm is frozen and shattered. The body count is very high and includes important/key characters. Strong language includes a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t" (once uttered by a little girl), as well as "a--hole," "bitch," and "bastard." Characters are seemingly addicted to a fictitious drug called Kronol, and a character's carefully saved cigarettes are smoked lovingly at key moments in the story. The material is dark, with intense themes about the behavior of humans in particular and society in general. But even though it takes a pretty bleak view of humanity, the movie (which stars Captain America's Chris Evans) still has some admirable characters who take leadership positions, prove their strength, and work together to fight difficult odds.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJR Ohio September 4, 2014

Awful

My husband and I watched this one night looking for a sci fi movie. The scientific premise was pretty shaky, and the movie had a lot of goreand violence, but n... Continue reading
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 December 5, 2014

Tale of the 99% is creative and violent

Though I have some problems with this movie, it is for sure a great piece of adult (emphasis on adult) dystopian sci-fi drama. Plus its concept is so original:... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byjbuck3151 July 27, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written byamurrayxx January 9, 2015

Cannibalism+Death+Truefacts= You will not sleep

Im 13 years old and this movie was horrific for me. The thing about this movie is that it makes you think. There have been ice ages before and there are most li... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 2031, after an attempt to quell global warming, Earth has become a frozen wasteland, and the only survivors are on board a spectacular, self-sustaining train that speeds continuously around the globe. The denizens of the rear cars are tired of being treated poorly, and talk of a revolution starts stirring. Curtis (Chris Evans) is the natural choice to lead, but they'll need the help of Namgoong (Song Kang-ho) to break through the locked doors, and they'll need extra courage, strength, and cleverness to deal with the hazards and pitfalls that await, and increase, at each level. Curtis could be the first to ever make it to the engine, with the fate of all humanity hanging in the balance.

Is it any good?

This is an exceptional sci-fi thriller, worth far more than just its visual effects. One of the world's most talented filmmakers, Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother, etc.) has proved that he can handle varied material that has strong themes with confident pacing and impressive visuals. SNOWPIERCER is a big film with a large cast, but Bong brilliantly juggles fights, characters, and ideas -- including a savvy use of food -- and fits it all succinctly within his amazing visual design and scope.

The movie's dystopian future could have been heavy-handed, but instead it's balanced with equal amounts of intelligence and hope. And, of course, filming in a long, thin corridor could have been repetitive, but the images are constantly striking and surprising. Bong doesn't neglect his cast, either. Song Kang-ho and Ko Ah-sung return from The Host (again playing father and daughter), Evans gives one of his finest performances, and Ed Harris is especially memorable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Snowpiercer's violence. How much of it was necessary to the story? Did it seem excessively gory or brutal?

  • What's the ultimate reason that the people in the back cars were kept in poverty? Was this a logical decision? Was it best for the largest amount of people, or should they have been helped?

  • What's the appeal of the post-apocalyptic genre?

Movie details

For kids who love sci-fi and thrillers

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