We have at least 5 or 6 of these movies a year. You know, the movies with the world ending. Hypothesizing about how humanity would deal with its demise or hypothesizing about what the world and our civilization would look like after an apocalypse. And they are mostly terrible. Or utterly dull. Or visually exciting but painfully cliche. But this year, we have something new. Rather less Hollywood-ized. So, I would like to draw to your attention two of the most interesting (post-)apocalyptic movies I have seen in a while. As always, I am more than curious if you agree with me.
I had not heard about that movie until I saw the posters. And the posters only showed up around my city a week before its premiere. I quickly looked up the trailer and my initial reaction was not as enthusiastic as it should have been – I said to myself: “All that’s left of humanity is stuck on a train that drives around the world endlessly?” And I was so wrong.
If you want a movie that gives a literal message, you should stop reading this review and go await Transformers 8 quietly and in shame.
Snowpiercer is a deep humanity and social constructivism satire, achieving its goals very masterfully by using an interesting approach towards the post-apocalyptic genre. It has absolutely masterful narrative and story developing, with a slight hint of South Korean darkness and depth, which only makes the story all that more powerful. The characters are carefully selected and created, with colorful well-developed personalities all through the long and pleasantly messy ride. The performances are beyond excellent, with gems such as Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and John Hurt and even a very adequate Chris Evans. Add this to the breath-taking costumes and visual presentation, and you have the must-see movie that it is.
Snowpiercer is a unique and deranged experience, combining dark humour, heavy symbolism and social satire, breath-taking set and visuals, and a thrilling plot all in one simple apocalypse. The best thing about the movie? It was brought to us with utter respect for our intelligence, lately nowhere to be seen in the “high-concept genre cinema”.
THE PHILOSOPHERS (or After the Dark)
This is an odd, yet compelling one. I came across it randomly. I even thought it was a few years old, but I recognized a few of the actors, so I thought to myself, why not. And I must admit, it proved to be an interesting experience. This meta-movie, circled around a group of philosophy students simulating Earth’s apocalypse in their minds, offers the very interesting concept of a “hypothetical” movie. To put it simply, a movie which is all about dialogue, relations and general human topics but without actual storyline or conflict. Or so it seems. Once being emerged in its world, this low-budget US/Indonesian production offers some interesting touches and perspectives. It is far from perfect and even though I have no doubts there are a lot of things in its development, message or characters that will piss many people off, I believe this to be a manipulative and compelling philosophical narrative on decision-making, regimes and well.. people. Why I would recommend this movie? It is among that rare cases of movies that prioritise on ideas rather than action, also offering a renewed stance on the apocalypse genre.
And for good or for bad, I believe these are reasons good enough for you to check it out.