In mid-July, I was experiencing some serious Chris Evans withdrawal. I had topped out at two viewings of Winter Soldier and Netflix had lost my everlasting love by taking both Captain America: The First Avenger and What’s Your Number from me.
And I can only watch the Fantastic Four movies like…maybe once a year.
But I’d heard about this movie. It was dark, and gritty, and maybe dystopic? I hadn’t heard much, but Chris Evans had a beard, so I was all for it.
(No, I totally don’t determine film potential based on facial hair. Not at all.)
It was not what I’d expected, and I therapeutically watched multiple Disney movies when I got home.
Just like Atonement.
(Also not decided upon based on the merits of James McAvoy’s facial hair. Nope.)
But my husband turned to me at the end of the movie.
“Is this based on a graphic novel? Cause it seems like something that would be a graphic novel.”
I had no idea.
So, we continued our usual practice of looking things up on our phones while waiting for the end credits to roll blue. And we simultaneously made the discovery.
No surprise there.
Originally published in France in 1984, Transperceneige is a bleak look into the future. If you’ve seen the film, you know the premise. Really long train that never stops. Rich people in the front, with space, and food. Impoverished in the back, countless hundreds sharing a single rail car.
But that’s about where the similarities end.
Written at the height of the Cold War, of course there would be reference to The Bomb. Nuclear Winter, in this case, is Actual Winter. A train, once a luxury liner that could sustain itself, is the only hope for preserving civilization from the coldest of colds outside. When we meet Proloff, he has clashed with a couple of soldiers, who claim that he came in through a bathroom window (no Beatles jokes, please). Proloff has come from the “tail” of the train, several cars that are lacking in insulation and provisions. Basically, the people there are not only crammed in like the cattle the cars were created for, but also cold and hungry.
At least they’re alive, right?
Hah. Yeah. Okay.
It was hard to read this one without pulling up comparisons to how things are revealed in the film, and the plot of the film in general, but if you go into it without those expectations, you’ll have a heck of a story on your hands. I have yet to get my hands onto a copy of The Explorers, but I’m certain it will happen soon.
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