I had been looking forward to this one just to see what they did with it. I love a good post/mid-apocalypse movie and the concept of everyone on earth on a train seemed weird enough to work. Also having Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, and Ed Harris in your movie definitely helps to lend some degree of legitimacy. I think the movie was really trying to be clever and I get that, it’s just that it’s hard to be clever when so much of the shit makes no goddamn sense when you think about for even a good minute or two.
As mentioned, the movie takes place on a train in the post-apocalypse where the world has frozen over after we put a chemical in the atmosphere to try to combat global warming. Slightly before these events I must assume Hell must have frozen over since we can’t even get people to admit global warming exists let alone do anything about it. Anyway, one weird train obsessed guy apparently built a train that had a self-sustaining ecosystem, then built a giant fuckoff track that spans almost the entire globe (438,000 km), and apparently somehow knew that the chemical they were going to use was going to freeze the world. We then get a very common haves vs the have-nots story of a revolution from the tail section against the front section.
I really wish that they didn’t try to explain as much stuff as they did. The more they were like “See, this would actually work because of this” the more that I kept finding faults with it. Like I’m almost willing to believe that this guy managed to somehow talk about 60 countries into letting him built a luxury railway through them. I can believe that he planned on the chemical we were using to fuck up the planet. But then it tries to show how the food for these people is made and it’s just…wrong. Like, the protein bars that the tail sectioners eat is made of bugs, just a shit load of them, but then there is nowhere on the train that you would be able to get more or that they would be able to breed. It takes a year to make a full loop on the track and apparently a full year of freezing snowy weather with nobody around to clear the tracks never caused more than a slight hindrance instead of, you know, miles of snow on tracks that would derail or at least stop the train. Whatever.
Some of the weird decisions I can at least chalk up to stylistic choices. Pretty much everyone in the front of the train is way younger than you would think (the train has been going for 17 years at this point) except for a few people in positions of authority but that’s fine as a stark contrast of the front being vital and young as opposed to the poor and worn down rear section. There are also several little scenes I won’t spoil that mirror the overall plot of the movie in interesting ways when you go back to think about it. The ending, however, is pure stupidity from just about every angle. Every main character has a completely insane goal (or a loco motive, if you will (and I will)). The actual end shot is supposed to be this hopeful image and just ends up being completely stupid and nothing has really changed for the better.
I’d give this movie a 3 out of 5 since it is really well acted and directed and was fun to watch. Just know going in, if you are one of those people that overanalyze details, this movie is going to have ranting at the screen.