The human drive toward ecological collapse often seems like a screaming train that can’t be halted, which gives this postapocalyptic thriller by Bong Joon-ho (The Host) a potency indivisible from its premise. Decades after an atmospheric experiment to counteract global warming has instead plunged the world into a new ice age, a little community of survivors rides a passenger train around and around the planet, the haves housed near the engine and the have-nots suffering at the back; a rebellion led by two malcontents (Chris Evans and Jamie Bell) and leading up through the cars introduces us to a succession of fantastic technology and eccentric characters (not the least of which is Tilda Swinton as an officious Thatcher-like governess). As with The Host, the political satire is teased out gradually as the story progresses and never intrudes on one’s enjoyment of the movie’s richly imagined world. With John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris.
R • 2 hours 5 min • 2014