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"Snowpiercer" is an Original Thrill Ride

by JC Alvarez
Sunday May 17, 2020
"Snowpiercer" is an Original Thrill Ride

Stay on track!

The earth is an ecological wasteland. After decades of ignoring science and of climate change deniers reaping the planet's natural resources, humanity has only one last chance of survival — and it comes at a very hefty price. The only means of civilization is afforded to the wealthy and well-to-do who can purchase a ticket to ride on "Snowpiercer". Based on the motion picture of the same name by filmmaker Bong Joon Ho ("Parasite"), this is a terrifyingly desolate look at a future in motion to nowhere.

Starring Academy Award-winner Jennifer Connelly as Melanie Cavill, the series takes a surreal perspective of a dead world, set on a moving bullet train. The Snowpiercer is 1001 train cars long, and on a singular track circling the globe — a globe now in the grips of an ice age that has rendered it uninhabitable. Stepping outside of the confines of the train means a guaranteed, frigid death. It's been seven years since the train left the station, with all the world's wealthiest living in luxury, but rebellion is brewing.

Melanie Cavill is the voice of the unseen Mr. Wilford, the head of Wilford Industries, aboard whose locomotive brainchild a dangerously brittle class system has taken hold. Tasked with keeping some semblance of order is Cavill. First Class ticket holders live luxuriously, while second- and third-class workers labor at their whim and keep the train's remaining civilization running in order. At the tail end of the train, a group of renegade passengers who forcibly boarded the train are kept in check.

When a dismembered body is discovered — the second homicide since the Snowpiercer started its journey -— there isn't anyone in the upper cars that is capable of solving the crime. Mr. Wilford demands that the murderer be found, or else the delicate balance he's created will be cast asunder. All hopes are placed on Layton (David Diggs), a onetime homicide detective who was among the group that stormed their way aboard just as the human race was set on track.

Given our current predicament, where a majority of the population is self-isolating and practicing social distancing, the cramped and confined quarters that provide the habitat for the world of "Snowpiercer" is rather disorienting and foreign-feeling. This may work to the series' advantage, delivering a threatening sense of claustrophobia; the remnants of society, attempting to survive while stacked on top of one another, has in recent weeks become a startling dystopian manifestation that seems all too possible and prophetic.

The cast is also expertly determined to bring the Snowpiercer and its calamitous journey to life for the audience. Though some of the characters are completely archetypal caricatures, Connelly and Diggs, the series leads, are very well developed and deeply textured — you want to spend some time with them, you want to go on this perilous journey with them and see how they come out on the other side. As science-fiction/fantasy "Snowpiercer" may not speak to every sensibility, but it's on course to be among the season's most original thrill rides.

View the trailer here:

"Snowpiercer" premieres Sunday, May 17, at 9 pm on TNT.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


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