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The Movie Like Snowpiercer That Sci-Fi Fans Need To See

An apocalyptic parable of climate change, a surrealist sci-fi hellscape, a high art genre film ... Bong Joon-ho's "Snowpiercer" is many things at once. The story of a world where a proposed solution to global warming results in a global flash-freeze, leaving a small group of survivors aboard a perpetually moving train. The train is modeled after our current societal hierarchy, with the poorest citizens occupying the last cars, where they're kept alive on "Protein Bars" made up of disgusting brown sludge (later revealed to be mashed up cockroaches), while the higher classes live in the front of the train, where they frequent spas, night clubs, and aquariums. A revolution is fomented under the leadership of one of the caboose-dwellers, Curtis, played by Chris Evans in a dark twist on his heroic "Captain America" image, and a group of rebels makes their way toward the front of the train, hoping to overthrow the train's conductor and totalitarian-like leader, Wilfred (Ed Harris).

In some ways, there's no other film that can compare to "Snowpiercer," with its brilliant storytelling and wildly varied settings from car to car. In reality, however, South Korean director Bong couldn't have made the film without the sci-fi masterpieces that came before it. The film recalls the dark futuristic visions of films like "Alien," "Bladerunner," and "Strange Days," along with the auguring of the end of humanity offered by "Children of Men." There's one film to which we believe "Snowpiercer" owes the biggest debt, and it came almost three decades before it.

Snowpiercer fans might think highly of this Terry Gilliam film

When it comes to quasi-comedic dystopian universes, Terry Gilliam is the master. He's perhaps best known for "Brazil," the 1985 film that went on to cement Gilliam's name in the sci-fi canon, and influence countless filmmakers who followed him. Chief among them is Bong himself, who paid homage to the director by giving the name "Gilliam" to John Hurt's character in "Snowpiercer." "Brazil" is a wildly inventive work that calls into question the capitalism and bureaucracy that our society is dominated by. With a mix of slapstick comedy and violent brutality, Gilliam paints a picture of a future where people are slaves to their jobs, paperwork prevents any change from happening, and malfunctioning machinery is often responsible for fatal errors. Gilliam's vision doesn't seem too different from the world we live in today, and that's part of its brilliance. With an exaggerated sense of whimsy and fantasy, Gilliam manages to speak out about the frustrating truths of our society and the absurdity of our modern world.

You can see the similarities between "Snowpiercer" and "Brazil" in everything from their over-the-top production design to their clear disdain for the ways that capitalism has shaped the world. Both films are at once polished and squalid, emphasizing the disparity between the haves and the have-nots in a world ruled by profit. Bong's film offers a kind of update on Gilliam's classic, and takes the director's vision into perhaps even darker territory.