Its metaphors and allegories may not be subtle—the whole of human society, the strata of haves and have-nots, shown as compartments on a train car—and it may be hard to watch at times, with all its crunching, spurting violence. But the new sci-fi action drama Snowpiercer is nonetheless the most original and oddly stirring movie so far released this year. A stark and grimy look at a terrible future, Bong Joon-ho's film (his first in English), is unrelentingly bleak until, well, it relents. When it does, and its really only for a brief moment, the film achieves a kind of grace, a transcendence of all the dark obliteration preceding it, in a way we haven't seen since Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron's 2006 masterpiece about another dystopia.
That's high praise, as Children of Men is, I think, one of the great films of all time. Snowpiercer doesn't quite reach the same level of profundity, but it is certainly a startling creative vision told with enough passion to rumble the seats.