If America has World War Z, Britain 28 Days Later, Australia Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, then South Korea has Train to Busan. A powerful character driven film with the zombie apocalypse in its outbreak stage that reveals not only the dark and depressing nature of human beings but the contrasting elements of belief, determination and sacrifice. Emotional, tense, exciting and tragic, Train to Busan is an inspiring and compelling take on the zombie-genre.
The main highlight of the film are the characters and their reflection against the differing nature’s of human beings. Regardless of being made up of the same elements, each individual exercises a different decision given a situation. It is in this individuality that we see the vast scale in how a human being can act in response to a situation. Train to Busan highlights the current ‘attitudes’ of people and how oblivious one is to the true face of their actions. When survival kicks in, an individual’s mind focuses on one thing, survival. Their field of concern narrows to just themselves and their loved ones, unconcerned about anybody else.
When the world goes to hell, it is only natural fear and terror creep in but it truly is fascinating to see the form such fear and terror takes when conveyed through an individual’s actions driven by self-preservation. It is indeed sorrowful and I find the consequences of such actions in the film haunting me even now. If only different decisions were made in the moment by the characters…certain outcomes could have been…prevented.
However, amongst such despair and tragedy, we get sparks of radiance that reveal the redeeming qualities of the human nature and how if we try, we can extend our selves beyond our own basic instincts. The end of the world may bring out the worst in people, but it also reveals the good that is hidden away within a person.
What Train to Busan succeeds in is conveying the capacity of human nature and the ability to change. This conveyance is entrenched within the journey of the main character who finds himself confronted by the appearance of his own past actions and the despicable nature of them. Once aware of the true face of how he behaved, he realises how unrecognisable he was to even himself. It in this moment that we start to see the value of what came before and the form of the message Train to Busan highlights.
For the level of budget Train to Busan had, a lot was extracted from it. The zombies were terrifying, the circumstances were dangerous, the characters were relatable and the tragedy was heartbreaking. Often throughout the film, I found myself overcome by concern, interest and a level of intensity that compelled me sit at the edge of my seat. And it is not often films do that. Would definitely love to see a sequel. An animated prequel has been released – Seoul Station – so I will definitely be watching that soon.
Enjoyment Level: 9/10