Thursday, February 14, 2019

Battling to survive in the frozen Arctic

There aren't many movies in which weather plays a role in deciding whether you might want to see them. But I'd think twice about seeing Joe Penna's Arctic if you're in the middle of a brutal winter cold spell. The story of a man struggling to survive the extreme temperatures of the Arctic after his small plane crashes offers the kind of bone-chilling realism that makes you feel every bit of hardship, even as you wonder whether the movie's main character (Mads Mikkelsen) will survive. Much of the movie involves watching Mikkelsen's Overgard improvise ways to keep himself alive; i.e., drill holes in the ice to catch fish, hand-cranking a radio to send out a distress signal and trying to stay as warm as possible inside the cabin of his downed aircraft. Eventually, Overgard discovers another crash and begins to care for its lone survivor (Maria Thelma Smaradottir,), a woman who never entirely regains consciousness and who battles sickness and fever. Eventually, Overgard realizes he can no longer stay put. He improvises a sled, bundles the woman in blankets and begins the long march toward what he hopes will be an outpost of civilization. Watching Mikkelsen lumber through snow or ascend hills proves both gripping and agonizing. One horrific challenge follows another until the movie reaches its conclusion. I'm a sucker for this kind of big-screen authenticity, and Arctic makes for a harrowing slice of life-or-death adventure.

No comments: