In this post-apocalypse future the world is doomed to an eternal
winter after a coalition of at least 76 countries agreed to disperse
chemical coolant “CW7” into the upper atmosphere. CW7 was supposed to
return the world’s temperatures to the “finest levels” and thus remove
the dangers of global warming. You guessed it: environmental
engineering resulted in mankind’s near-total destruction, not its
salvation. If this movie were made by White Nationalists it would have
been a story about how Israel trapped every other nation on Earth into a
The weather in Snowpiercer is a play on contemporary fears
of global warming adding relevancy and timeliness to the story. The
weather is, of course, a permanent and deathly cold freezing winter.
The weather is cold, the train is warm. The train is a political
system and its classes are segmented and separated into successively
higher ranked cars. To live outside of your allotted station in life is
to suffer the freezing death of exposure. That’s what the cold is:
it’s the doom that awaits people who try to buck the system. We have a
more-or-less similar apparatus in place right now. Our opposition’s
greatest tool is economic terrorism. Outspoken or active White
Nationalists are chased out of the scene after their employers receive
threatening calls or are simply informed that they are employing an evilnaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. It’s hard to raise a family let
alone pay bills when no respectable white collar employer will have you.
Curtis Everett is a tail-section passenger planning a rebellion
against the train’s creator, Wilford. He wants better living
conditions, food and treatment for the tail-sectioners and he wants to
do all of this by taking over the train and deposing Wilford from the
engine car. His #2, Edgar, was born on the train and he doesn’t know
anything of the outside world and Curtis is just silly enough to tell
him “We’ll be different when we get there.” Spoiler alert: No, you
The tail section is policed by armed guards. The guards distribute
protein blocks for food. The guards perform head-counts to see how many
people are in the tail section. The guards perform “health
inspections” on the children at Wilford’s behest, and it’s after one of
these inspections where a child is stolen by one of Wilford’s henchmen
to replace a “missing part” on the train that Curtis launches the
revolt. Curtis and the other tail section occupants refused to revolt
prior to this because they feared the guards would shoot them. However,
Curtis believed the guards were using empty weapons having fired all of
their rounds during the last large revolt. And he was right. The only
reason the guards could treat the tail section passengers so poorly was
because they let them do so out of fear. Police have no power and if the people rise up and revolt all at once the police are powerless to stop it.
During a fight against a well-equipped army of ax-wielding henchmen
Curtis has to make a choice to let Edgar die or to stop a high-level
train official from escaping. He lets Edgar die. Even at this early
point Curtis has already begun his transformation into something other
than a tail-sectioner. Curtis isn’t able to take anyone with him to the
top, to the sacred engine. The people who help him to the top are
either self-interested in escaping or will die trying to help him.
All hail Wilford. He was just a super-smart kid who wanted to grow
up and build a luxury train, right? RIGHT? No. He’s not. The train
isn’t “just a train” in this movie. The train is the society that we
all live in. Wilford was a young man who dreamed of ruling the world
and realized that a certain world-wide cataclysmic event would allow him
seize control. He realized that the unending debate and division
surrounding climate control would give him an opportunity to create an
autocratic one-world government. We’ve seen a lot of these in our time,
some of which have had more success than others. NATO, EU, G8, etc…
sound familiar? The Culture Distorters are hard at work whipping up a
new humanitarian crisis with Syrian refugees in Europe, and it’s just pitiful to see how Europeans are handling this latest episode.
But, back to the movie- Every now and again the front-passenger cars
need to take one of the tail-section passengers to perform some
essential function on the train or to entertain themselves. Both seem
to have about the same impact on the tail-sectioners: one of them is
disappeared into the forward sections. When a tail-section passenger is
“disappeared” into a forward section of the train there is no return.
People are “disappeared” for pleasure, business and less frequently in
cases of rebellion, however the result is always the same: if you leave
the tail section you’re not coming back. Ever. There are a few times
during the film that tail-sectioners encounter one of the their friends
who were taken and these former tail-section passengers can’t imagine
doing anything other than what they’ve been reassigned to perform.
Reassignment is absolute and changes everything about the person. It
doesn’t matter how you achieve a new station or duty in the train,
everything about your person is changed after you are reassigned.
The Great and benevolent Wilford designed a train to run on a
world-wide track. But, why is this important? Why doesn’t the train
travel only in one country and not in others? In fact, why does the
train need to travel at all? If the “engine is eternal” why couldn’t it stay in one spot and just idle? Because it’s not “just a train.” It’s a system, a government and it’s a world-wide government that controls everybody. If
the train stops? Everybody dies. If people fail to occupy their
predestined and preordained station in life and also to fulfill its
requirements? Everybody dies. To be out of place or to refuse to
perform a necessary function in the train is death. Does this remind
anybody else of Israel’s Samson Option?
The movie’s director might very well have been making commentary on
the North Korean government, but damned if it doesn’t look like an
incriminating case for Israel’s ideal world.
Before Curtis can lead his revolt to the front he has to free a
prisoner, Namgoong Minsu, a “security expert” who helps Curtis open the
doors between train cars. Namgoon, Nam for short, is a kronole addict.
Kronole is industrial waste and is formed into little cubes. Train
passengers sniff the chalky blocks and get high. It is also “highly
flammable.” The movie maker could have had anyone be the
security expert, but a drug fiend was chosen. For every door that Nam
opened he received a block of kronole from Curtis. After Nam gets
Curtis through all the doors and delivers him to the engine, Nam forms
all of the kronole blocks into one large lump to make an explosive
strong enough to breach an exit door on the train. Nam didn’t want to
take the engine, he just wanted off of the crazy train. Nam was a drop out from society, and he wanted to escape.
The nearer Curtis comes to the head of the train is the nearer
he comes to the highest levels of the train’s society. He has to pass
through the middle of the train (middle class) to get there, and then he
passes by the bourgeois middle and upper class. The final cars before
they reach the engine? A party and rave car. The train’s occupants
become increasingly decadent and boojee before the engine is reached. They lounge around getting high on kronole, playing hunt-the-zipper and making orgy porgy. They
are also the ones work the hardest to stop Cutis. The bourgeois are
the ones who will fight any revolution the hardest because it means that
their comfortable party lifestyle will come to an end should the
revolution succeed. No surprises there. Traditionalist Youth
Network’s most reliable opponents are stuck up and confused white kids
from middle to middle-upper class families who are quite content with
their White Cosmopolitan Liberal Supremacism.
Remember how reassignment is absolute and irreversibly changes
people? Curtis was right there outside the engine’s chamber
when Nam packed his kronole bomb against a door. So what did Curtis do?
In the moment before he was about to dethrone Wilford and take control
of the train? He stops Nam from escaping. If Curtis had control of
the train he probably would have done the same thing with Nam as what
Wilford’s police force did with him previously: lock him up so that he
couldn’t escape. Everybody is property of the train and nobody is
allowed to leave the train.
When Curtis finally gets a chance to meet with the great Wilford,
Wilford thrusts Curtis into the heart of the engine. Curtis is
overwhelmed by the power and prestige and is all but converted.
Meanwhile, Nam’s kronole bomb finally detonates. The explosion sets
off an avalanche and knocks the entire train off the tracks, with many
of the cars spilling off down the side of a mountain. What’s the moral
of the story? If you break down all barriers between the classes the
train will literally go off the tracks and kill everyone.
Was Snowpiercer an ideal or even a decent kind of thing for people to
live in? No, but it worked. Can we as activists and leaders hope to
do better for our people by trying to work within the system? That’s
entirely dependent on the assumption that we intend to keep the current
system. Ideally we should hope to flip this government right off the
rails, ditch the wreckage and brave the cold for the sake of our people
and our future.