While South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's biggest stateside breakout is certainly the 2019 Best Picture-winner Parasite, that wasn't the first time he memorably put capitalism under a microscope. In fact, if there’s one thread that winds through his eclectic body of work, it's a fascination with the entanglements between the haves and the have-nots. Fortunately, the guy's a master at managing tone, and he never fails to balance what could easily be exhausting critique with great comedy, brilliantly realized characters, and a rarely paralleled visual maximalism.
While Parasite and 2017's Okja both served to expand his purchase stateside, it was his 2013 film, Snowpiercer, that first signaled Bong's crossover ambitions. It was his first film primarily in English, its cast was rounded out with an Avenger and a number of Oscar winners, and it was an easy-sell adaptation of a popular series of graphic novels. However, it remains something of a curiosity, all things considered. It's few people's favorite Bong film, and, while it performed fairly well, it wasn't the $200 million grosser a proper advertising campaign and release could've made it. So what happened? And how did its reputation grow to the point that it spawned a big-budget TV adaptation in 2020?
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