Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer is Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s first English release. The plot is set as a post-apocalyptic world experiencing an ice age due to the chemical “CW7” that is sprayed globally to halt a supposed “global warming” catastrophe. Snowpiercer’s ending doesn’t offer a traditional happy ending like a classic Hollywood narrative, but it does offer a moral reassessment, reconciliation, and a small-scale of hope.
In many ways, the ending’s level of satisfaction is all about Curtis making the right decision. Even if we kept the reveal Wilford gives that he and Gilliam had coordinated the rebellion, and the revolts that came before it, Curtis would still kill Wilford, take the train as the new leader, and somehow reinvent the train’s class system. But how can he keep the train running without children working on the engine under the floorboard? Perhaps this is what stops him from attempting such actions. Gilliam taught them that utilizing children wasn’t acceptable to maintain the lives of adults, that it’s all feeding on the weak to make the strong fatter. But in light of what Curtis learns about the requirements of keeping the train running, Namgoong’s faith that the outside can sustain human life, a faith he trusts his daughter’s life to, is enough for Curtis to put his support behind. Curtis and Namgoong shield Yona and Timmy from the explosion blast, sacrificing themselves and society for a chance to start anew without the class/car barriers. The end of the movie shows Yona and Timmy surviving the train crash. As they walk away from the wreckage, they see a real live polar bear. The polar bear indicates that not everything on earth has been completely frozen to death and that all the animal and plant species required for the polar bear’s survival are also around such as seals, fish, fauna, algae, etc. Although Yona and Timmy’s survival through the suddenly warming world isn’t definite, all gestures point to a hopeful remaking of humanity.
Although we didn’t see any other survivors step out of the wreckage, there is a substantial possibility they exist if the two closest people from the blast survived. There are also still enough resources such as shelter, fire, and food from the train to get them going. How do you think Yona and Timmy will interact with the other survivors if Bong Joon-ho were to make a sequel? Will class still be an issue even without the closed ecosystem?