Snowpiercer’s Left to Right Camera View Pattern

In side scrolling video games, the character traditionally moves from the left of the screen to the right of the screen, and much like the characters in video games, Curtis and other rebels consistently move from the left of the screen to the right of the screen, when the camera isn’t positioned to look up or down the train. Specifically in the tunnel scene. Once the rebels start running up with fire, the camera only pans right from looking at the back of the train or pans left from looking at the front of the train. Then, when Curtis has to make the choice between saving his closest friend on the train or going after the minister who has been built up as the voice of the antagonist up to this point in the movie. On the left side, is Curtis’ best friend Edgar. On the right, minister Mason. In this cross-cut sequence between the three shots, is the director slightly inclining us to hope Curtis chooses the minister?

With the rest of the movie before this sequence, I believe he is. In America, the market this movie was most targeted by, literate viewers read from the left to the right. Early in our childhoods we are taught to read this way. This creates a positive psychological link with progressing from left to right. It’s one of those phenomenon like when you see a completed rubix cube or pencils in a row or whatever appeals to you visually. It is just simply pleasing to see. This is what decides where the camera is going to be placed in certain shots in the film.One of the themes of Snowpiercer is that you have to do what is for the betterment of your kind, and it is strengthened by the use of the left-to-right view pattern.


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