Valondar’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a 2019 film just as much as any American could claim Paddington 2 was a 2018 film - that is, it finally made its premiere in Ireland (and the United Kingdom) by being ingloriously dumped onto Netflix without fanfare, in an edition whose English subtitles for the Korean dialogue do not work properly (they only appear if you select close captioning.) The film did not reach John Hurt’s home country in his own lifetime, it postdates the existence of the Weinstein Company whose logo prefaces the film; while Chris Evans’ emotionally wounded decency in the film clearly keys on his Captain America performance a half-dozen of those have come and gone (and do finally has he) in the time it took for this film to arrive.
If this were a lesser film that would be all I would have to say of it, but Bong Joon-ho’s adaptation of a French comic works well as a science fiction blockbuster spectacular - trains are an interesting setting for a film at the best of times, but as a for class inequality the rigidity of train’s differing passenger systems (ballooned to epically capitalist brutality) works as well as a kind stratified metaphor as, say, Metropolis’ different physical layers of society. An obvious point of comparison in general - with revolutions fermented and betrayed, though Snowpiercer’s solution is satisfying in what it rejects and casts aside. There are a number of fun broad performances here - Tilda Swinton gives the widest and most cartoonish of them, but Alison Pill’s peppy schoolmistress has a certain charm too - though the film perhaps assumes a little more investment in some thrown off details about the cast than I think it quite justifies.
Overall though I really enjoyed finally getting to see this picture, which has become a bit of a white whale for me over the years - this kind of allegorical science fiction adventure is very much as the kids say My Shit, I really enjoyed Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, and he delivered here just as well.