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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some bathing suit-clad women are briefly seen lounging in hot tubs and pools.
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"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."
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.