Snowpiercer Study Guide

This 2013 film by Bong Joon-ho is based on the Le Transperceneige, a French graphic novel by Jean-Marc Rochette. Snowpiercer was Bong Joon-ho's first English film, after directing numerous critically-acclaimed Korean films. The film stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Jon Hurt and Ed Harris.

The film became the most expensive Korean production to date, with a budget of $40 million USD. The picture was shot on a sound stage in the Czech Republic, and Bong was determined to maintain a strong visual sense during filming to create a clear setting and tone. The story concerns a young man named Curtis, who leads a revolution through the cars of a train carrying a heavily stratified and exceedingly violent society, overseen by a fascist leader named Wilford. The film is a political allegory as well as a science fiction adventure film, and it departs in certain key ways from the story in the graphic novel. Bong said that the film took four years to develop.

Upon its release in the United States, producer Harvey Weinstein requested Bong make specific edits to the film, including adding opening and closing monologues, but Bong refused. The film was met with critical acclaim and holds the domestic record for the fastest movie to reach four million admissions, by its fifth day. David Denby of The New Yorker wrote, "Violent, often absurd, but full of brilliant surprises."