Although the titular train is forward-moving, “Snowpiercer” (2014) is a story told in reverse. Instead of learning the rules of the world up front and then following a story, we are thrown into the story and gradually pick up rules of the world. This format puts the onus on the screenplay by Bong Joon Ho and Kelly Masterson to deliver a great payoff, and it doesn’t succeed. Other turnoffs are the slow and outright boring pacing from director Bong, making the film seem pretentious, and obviously CGI train effects, which reveal where the movie saved money.
Foreign filmmakers, particularly in Asia, have been making long, engrossing, surprising statements about human issues of the day for a long time, and “Parasite” (2019) may not be the elite example of the form, but it’s a worthy Best Picture winner. If this first-ever foreign film to win Best Picture gets people to check out more subtitled gems, it’s worth it. Director/co-writer Bong Joon Ho, along with co-writer Jin Won Han, crafts a darkly funny commentary about South Korean class relations that the American film “Us” wishes it could’ve approached.