While Snowpiercer isn’t lacking in action, it heavily lacks a concrete backstory that would provide more information about Wilford’s train, why he built it, and how the tickets for it were sold. It is unclear as to when people bought tickets and how they were distributed, as Minister Mason only mentions the tickets briefly. Also, the only explicit reasoning for Wilford building the train is from the deranged teacher turned assassin. The kids were definitely brainwashed to believe her, but I’m not convinced of her story. How reliable are she and Mason really?
In terms of ticket sales, it makes sense when we take the process out of context: if you buy an airline ticket today, you wouldn’t expect to get put in first class with an economy ticket just because you deserve to sit there or you throw a fit (or kill some people?). However, what happens when that plane you board becomes your home indefinitely? I am wondering if the characters on board knew what they were getting into when they purchased tickets, but the lack of a backstory makes it hard to explain or understand. If the characters had purchased the tickets knowing they’d be on it the rest of their lives, would they have paid more?
It’s also hard to say that the social classes represented on the train accurately depict the classes that existed on earth before the freeze. Suppose one passenger was filthy rich but decided he or she wanted to save a little money. Or vice versa, a passenger not as well off decided to save a little money so they could spend extra on their trip. Every prediction we make about this structure of class can’t be validated because we aren’t given that information in the story. What does the director achieve by leaving out the story behind the train? Are we just supposed to believe Minister Mason and the teacher? If so, what qualities do they possess that makes us question their reliability?