I have a friend who thought I’d enjoy the film Snowpiercer, partly because she knows I love dystopian dramas. Basically, I’m a closet pessimist. I suspect this is because I was raised on 60’s and 70’s science fiction….the doom generation writings. I grew up in the 70’s- 80’s, and life was colored by the ideas of the two previous decades. The bomb. Apocalyptic wastelands. What ifs that seem not as crazy as they used to after wars and rapid technological advances.
Back to the movie: I did enjoy it. It was far more violent than most movies I’ve watched. Fortunately, there seemed to be enough warning for when something nasty was about to happen. (Picture two grown women covering their faces and saying “this is gonna be BAD.”)
Snowpiercer is oddly fascinating. In part it’s the brilliant performance of Tilda Swinton as the minister of Wilfred the Benevolent, who saved the remnants of mankind in his weirdly religious train. Even while doling out terrible punishments, she is so laughable! Someone who isn’t merely evil, but so mad they can’t see any humor in their pomposity. She was great.
spoiler alert—skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to know!
Wilfred (Ed Harris) wanted Curtis (Chris Evans) to become the new engineer when Wilfred passed on. Actually, I had wondered about that all through the movie…who’s next? Skipping the boring part of the movie (train represents classes and society), this part got my attention. Especially when the audience had been with Curtis as a revolutionary leader and then it’s revealed that he was willing to do whatever it took to survive…up to cannibalism, but he couldn’t sacrifice himself for the people. Though he redeemed himself by causing a train wreck, he could have stepped into the Engineer role. In my opinion, Curtis was the perfect hero/antihero character.
Interesting that he caused a lot more losses than the train “system” in the end! Hmmm. I really don’t read too much into the political statement, just enjoyed the characters and cinematography.
Fueled by a new sci-fi movie addiction, I went to “Lucy” the next week. Scarlett Johansson isn’t my favorite actress, and though there were a few times I sympathized with the character, I’d like to see this same story told in a different way–where the actress is not a lovely within the realm of male fantasy.
Of course, seeing the cast, I didn’t expect a “person off the street” film. I expected to see some hot Asian men. No disappointments there! And I expected to see Scarlett keep a perfect hairdo and Morgan Freeman be a very professorial professor. Not a gritty film by any means, even with the limited gore.
Whether or not we use only 10 percent of our brains is up for debate. The movie assumes that we do, and that a drug could make us reach computer-godlike potential. I thought this movie had it backwards…
If our brain is the organic version of a computer, would knowledge annihilate the body? Would we become something omnipresent if we reached a particular level? “You shall be as gods.”–Genesis. Isn’t it working backwards to say that something organic would become a machine if rightly programmed? If anything, the organic material would still be there, just transmuted, IMO.
There were a few times the character of Lucy resonated with me. Under the influence of the drug, she says, “I can feel everything.” I’ve always had times when I felt similarly (with no outside stimulants). Sometimes your brain seems to get into a mode where you can feel old memories in a tactile way.
Also, she asserts that “learning is a painful process.” Indeed. “There is much sorrow in much knowledge” Solomon said.
Do we know all the secrets of the brain? Will we ever know?
My favorite part of the movie was the scene where Lucy pushes aside the communication strings rising from the planet in order to track conversations. It made me think of string theory and quantum mechanics.
Two sci-fi flicks that could have been more amazing…but each ignored some interesting questions. (Why didn’t Lucy go crazy like the first guy they tested did, for example. What if Curtis had accepted the position?) Maybe spin off films could answer….