I didn't hear about this movie until it was mentioned in a list of movies never released in the theatres in Hungary that were good. That's where I live, BTW. The concept sounded interesting and unique, so I decided to check it out. I also do have a thing for dystopias.
The movie is about a train that goes around the world, carrying the last members of humanity. In an experiment that we managed to mess up, we managed to freeze the whole world. The train was built to be a self-sustaining economy. I did wonder how that would work.
The first thing that came into my mind was "guns?" That's the first thing you see on the the screen of the train. A man carrying a machine gun. In a way that describes the whole movie. It is very violent. The basic plot is that the people who live in the back, the poor section, try to take over the engine at the front, to control the train, the world, really.
The rich people control the food, punish rebellious poor people, and seem to be generally running a religious rhetoric of the "sacred engine" and Wilford, the holy creator of the engine. An interesting thing is that none of the poor people seem to be buying the religious rhetoric, only the rich ones. The people in the tail section don't even actually do anything, but seem to just breed and consume resources. However, most of the people in the front, the rich don't seem to be doing anything either.
Chris Evans plays Curtis. The leader of the rebellion against the people in the front. The movie is more about his struggle than anything. We often see his face in a close-up.
John Hurt plays Gilliam, who guides Curtis in his adventure.
Yona, played by Ah-sung Ko is a strange girl, who has an especially good hearing.
The characters don't feel close. I couldn't really connect to their struggle, as the emphasis seemed to be more on the violence than anything.
What Wilford said at the end felt rational, while cruel. However, in the situation it would have been the only way to go. The real problem that I saw with the whole thing was that the very existence of humanity in this form didn't have a point. You'd think that humans as a whole are really just worth their existence as long as they develop, create, and make strides to better themselves. The humans on the train are just like the train. Going around and around, not reaching anything, not having any goals other than being there.
The ending was weird. I guess there was supposed to be hope there, but what would have really been the point?
Overall, not an average movie, but I would have liked less fighting, more characterisation. Also, an ending that makes more of a sense. Watchable though, and finding out what the whole train was like kept me going.