Snowpiercer certainly isn't your average sci-fi epic.
A surprisingly unnerving and claustrophobic chamber piece that plays out almost like a video game, our ragtag horde of rebels move through the train from carriage to carriage, with each advancement as fresh and unfamiliar to us as it is to them. By positioning the viewer at the very back of the train and allowing us to pass through it, Bong creates an air of mystery and intrigue - mirroring the passengers yearning and fascinating for the riches that lie ahead. As we progress from the dark, grubby rear of the train's flank to the opulent splendour of the front carriages, Snowpiercer evolves steadily, growing richer with every step and slowly feeding us morsels of information - enriching this ludicrous premise with enough magic and wonder to suspend our disbelief entirely.
Seamlessly entwining the dramatic tensions and linear narratives of western cinema with the stylised violence and absurdity of its Asian counterparts, Snowpiercer is a genuinely global film - a rich hybrid of styles that breaks through cultural and political boundaries. The performances are equally as diverse. While Swinton's Thatcher-esque fundamentalist steals the limelight, but the entire cast from Jamie Bell and Evans to Kang-ho and Ko Ah-sung all bring something fresh to the fore. And yet, it's the depiction of class warfare and the rise of the proletariat that makes Bong's triumph more that just a runaway actioner. The intelligent scrutiny of neoliberal ideals makes for a wonderfully reflective, spectacular think piece on social irresponsibility and individualism.
The 68th Edinburgh Film Festival takes place from 18-29 June 2014. For more of our EIFF coverage, follow this link.