Movie Information

A marooned Mads Mikkelson strives to survive in a desolate, polar landscape.
Genre: Adventure/Drama
Director: Joe Penna
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir
Rated: PG-13

Arctic certainly lives up to its namesake as one would imagine.
It is not a “feel good” film in the traditional sense, which
incidentally lends to a more believable, palpable and authentic essence.

As the film begins, sonically you are taken to a place the
average creature of comfort would rather not be, then a black
screen gives way to a man (Mads Mikkelson) scraping and hacking with a
shovel for the primal sake of survival.

A tundra shipwrecked plane lies nearby in the background, wishing
to tell a full story but never quite solving the mystery of origin,
or intended destination.

One of the stark charms of this film is its consistent, minimalist,
effective/necessary communication. The film seems to involve
three different languages, with English being the primary. There is
nearly as much written language as spoken, mostly for the purpose of leaving
clues for any would-be rescuer(s).

In an ironic twist in this case, one of the rescuers becomes the rescued.
The main character seems to feel indebted to this wounded stranger and
he adopts the young lady (Maria Thelma Smáradóttir) as his own “kin,” so to speak.
A natural sense of the need for human connection is embedded throughout
this film, and it will compel you to tap into the greater empathetic bow
that binds us all together.

If you happen to be a fan of the winter in a real or metaphorical sense,
this is the movie for you. It is fraught with such frosty, blistery
challenges that go beyond and much deeper than the harsh deadly external
elements. It tests and jars the faith in one’s heart — the ultimate challenge
of seeing light through the darkness and storms.

As they venture to a more conspicuous location, the man realizes there are
difficult landscapes not present on the maps. This presents one of the first
moments of perceivable resignation — the rocky steep terrain seemingly too
daunting for an exhausted wayward stranger, rope attached to sled and dragging
an even more vulnerable passenger.

The most redemptive and warm fuzzy quality of the whole film seems to be
the care and loyalty that this gentleman displays in regards to this young lady.
He never gives up on her and never leaves her behind, even as he seems to give
in to the strength of nature.

One of the more could-be nagging aspects of this film comes back to the nebulous
“busted window” of never really knowing from where these people hail, or where they were going (in particular regarding the main character).

However, this experience is beautiful, but not in a sugarcoated, bubble gum fashion.
The stimuli directly engage the viscera of the viewer, in case we ever feel a little less than thrilled or challenged.

Now playing at the Fine Arts Theatre


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