FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last Friday, I saw “Arctic,” which stars Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Maria Thelma Smáradóttir (Fangar [TV mini-series], Black’s Game). It is directed by Joe Penna (Turning Point [Short], Beyond [Short]), who also wrote it with Ryan Morrison (Instant Getaway [Short], Meridian [Short]). A pilot (Mikkelsen), stranded somewhere in the Arctic, sets out towards a base after finding an injured woman in need of medical attention.
It’s like “All is Lost,” but in the Arctic! Ah, those survivalist films where there’s one protagonist who barely says a word. Queue the cinematic filmmaking style and picturesque locations! “Arctic” is your sort of run-of-the-mill survivalist flick. It’s one man on one mission, typically being to survive the elements around him and get to safety. The setting? The Arctic. The man? A pilot. His mission? To get to a base many miles from his crashed plane. To make matters worse, he has to drag an injured woman to this base as well. Geez, talk about a long night. When it comes to these kind of films, I’m generally a fan. There’s a lot of rich visual storytelling involved and typically wonderful performances. Mads Mikkelsen does a fantastic job as this survivor and pulls out all the stops to make his role believable. I can tell the man is suffering throughout this journey and feel for him when it seems like all hope is lost (which happens a lot during this picture). The landscapes of the Arctic are beautiful, as is the cinematography. The musical score is also great, and overall “Arctic” is an interesting feature. While it is simplistic in nature (a man getting from point A to point B), I was engaged to see how he would get to his destination, as there are roadblocks set before him. Sure, it can feel slow at times, but overall I think the movie succeeds in what it set out to do. It’s a small film as well, so when it comes to conflict there isn’t much to tackle. There’s no explosions or vehicles to destroy; it’s simply one man either having difficulty climbing a hill or falling into a hole. That’s it. Roll credits (psych, there’s a better ending). While I do wish there was more to chew on with this, I do understand the circumstances and budget. Does that mean it gets a pass? No. If I’m being honest, I’ll probably never see “Arctic” again because it doesn’t have much rewatchability value. We wanna see if this guy can make it to the base, and even if he does I don’t care to see it again. There’s not much to explore when it comes to a man trying to get from one point to another by means of only survival. The performance is great as well as the filmmaking, but even though it serves well on those aesthetics, the story can only hold so much. I love how we aren’t given a lot of information on our main hero. A lot is done through visuals and very little is offered, but I don’t need much. The focus is on his journey, and it’s played out well. It just doesn’t blow me away like the filmmakers probably thought it would. I’ll say that if anyone is looking to see a survivalist film, this is definitely up there. It doesn’t say much, but it’s poetic regardless. I just think that any great film would possess any viewer to see it again, or at least walk away heavily influenced/impacted. I didn’t get either of these things. However, “Arctic” is still a solid watch, and I enjoyed my experience. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: