We've been eagerly anticipating Bong Joon-ho's post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller SNOWPIERCER for some time now, but now comes word that when the critically acclaimed film finally hits theaters here in North America we will see a cut down version of the directors vision, with 20 minutes excised from the original cut. And if you live in the American mid-west, you may not like the reasoning behind these cuts.
SNOWPIERCER is already a major hit in its native Korea, smashing box office records and generating a lot of positive buzz with critics and audiences going nuts for it. But we should've expected to see the film cut before hitting theaters internationally when we first heard that scissor-happy The Weinstein Company acquired the international rights to the film. The company, notorious for requesting numerous cuts to dumb down their acquisitions for the U.S. market, are now requesting that 20 minutes be cut from SNOWPIERCER's 126-minute running time, according to Twitch. And the reason behind this is just astounding.
According to film critic and programmer Tony Rayns...
"TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film 'will be understood by audiences in Iowa ... and Oklahoma.'"
Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks."
Effectively, the notorious Hollywood executive believes the American mid-west is too stupid for SNOWPIERCER, a movie which essentially chronicles the journey of a few people at the back of a train who stage a revolt and proceed, in a straight line, towards the front.
This has rightly led to concerns that any trace of nuance or social commentary is being quietly excised from Joon-ho's film, leaving behind a more straightforward, and far less interesting, action thriller in its wake. Then there's the disturbing news that a voice-over will be added to the front and back of the movie, presumably to make sure audiences are keeping up with the plot.
According to Rayns, the UK will be protesting TWC's proposed cuts and he hopes that Australia will follow suit. Sadly though, American audiences are likely to be presented with a substantially different version of Bong's bold and ambitious film, and will probably have to wait for an uncut "director's cut" to appear on DVD/Blu-Ray before they can see the real thing.
This is disheartening and disappointing news, to say the least. If you've been keeping up with SNOWPIERCER here on AITH, you've no doubt seen the badass and intriguing trailers, stills and featurettes for the film and know that we were in for something truly special with this one, so it's a real shame that Joon-ho's vision is not being respected by The Weinstein Company. Spit back with your thoughts on this below.