Let joy be unconfined! For months, there has been behind-the-scenes wrangling over Korean director Bong Joon-Ho's Snowpiercer, as US and UK rights holder Harvey Weinstein apparently proposed to cut the film's two-and-a-half hour running time for its release here. Now, it seems, a deal has been reached and the film will arrive on these shores in all its uncut glory - although a UK release date remains to be set.
The film is an adaptation of French comic Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob & Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, and takes place in a world where a misguided attempt to end global warming has frozen the planet. The only remaining life is aboard the titular train, racing around the globe powered by a perpetual motion engine. An elite group live at the front of the train; the have-nots have fallen to the back, and they begin to revolt against their poor living conditions.
Weinstein had bought the North American, UK, Australian, South African and New Zealand rights to the film back in 2012, before it was finished, with the promise of a wide release. After months of reports that he would cut the final running time to facilitate that release, a deal has now been reached whereby the film will go out on a smaller number of screens and expand outwards, but at the original length. Hurrah!
The film from the Host director, his first in English, stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, Go Ah-sung, Ewen Bremmer, Alison Pill and Luke Pasqualino.
It's already been released to good reviews in France and South Korea, so UK and US audiences can now rejoice that we get to see it as nature intended. There's no word yet on its arrival date, but it suddenly seems that there's light at the end of the tunnel.