Harvey Weinstein to Dumb Down Snowpiercer.
Snowpiercer, the latest film by Bong Joon-ho, starring Chris Evans, is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the last inhabitants of Earth are crammed into a train that circulates the globe. The film moves in and out of carriages, highlighting a class segregation that leads to revolt by those considered lower class. Judging by the trailer, this film looks kick ass, fast-paced, gripping; a hell of a ride, so to speak.
In fact, at only a week into its release, Bong’s film is so engrossing that the Korean Film Council has announced that Snowpiercer has broken South Korean box office records. By the fourth day of screening, the film snared 2.5 million filmgoers, and within the week it had sold 4 million admissions. It has also broken other records, such as the most expensive Korean film ever made (US$39.2 million), and it was sold to close to 170 countries before its release.
Sounds great, huh? A spectacular cinematic experience! Well, it will be, if we get the chance to see the film in its entirety. Film critic Tony Rayns revealed that Harvey Weinstein aspires to slash away at character detail – twenty minutes in total – and shove in some opening and closing voiceovers. The aim is for Snowpiercer to appear more like a straightforward action film. The reason? Rayns was informed by Bong that the Weinstein Company felt the cuts are necessary Snowpiercer to “be understood by audiences in Iowa… and Oklahoma.”
Wait, what? So here we have a film that – only a week into screening – is smashing all sorts of records in South Korea, an upcoming feature that is making us drool in anticipation, and cut-happy Weinstein wishes to destroy a significant portion of the film because the audience might not understand what is going on. Well, that’s bloody offensive. And, with the Weinstein Company having secured the distribution rights in not only the US, but also the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, we can only hope to see Snowpiercer at the full 126 minutes in theatres. At present, this looks doubtful.
If we, like the poor Iowa and Oklahoma guys and gals, are to be considered a lil’ too thick to understand how to follow a post-apocalyptic narrative centered on class revolt, then it would be time for us to do a little uprising of our own. The opportunity to watch this film un-slashed, and to experience it in the theatre, is something that we should all be entitled to. Heck, I predict that if all of this goes ahead, then any uncut version of Snowpiercer will be released on DVD and Blu-ray, to a significant amount of fanfare. The whole ‘buy and consume this effed up film that had to be censored for theatres’ type of deal.
So, as we anxiously wait for a definitive decision and release date regarding Snowpiercer here in Oz, and for the outcome for its release in the US, I would just like to offer Weinstein the following advice: Back away from Snowpiercer, Harvey Scissorhands! Back away!