film reel image

film reel image

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Arctic 2018 * * 1/2 Stars

Arctic Director: Joe Penna
Year: 2018
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smaradottir

"She's running out of time". So says the battered character of Overgard in 2019's Arctic (my latest review). Arctic the movie, well it sure takes its "time". 98 minutes seems to feel a little more long-winded here.

Arctic while fitting, still has that seen it all before feeling. It's about a man who is stranded somewhere in the Arctic Circle after his small plane goes down. While waiting to be rescued, he is forced to survive with whatever bare resources he has around him. Frustrating, harrowing, and not without its various moments, Arctic might have been more pioneering say 30 years ago. My final reaction after Arctic's closing credits rolled was a muted sigh.

Image result for arctic movie scenesSo OK, Arctic is like 2013's All Is Lost in snow. It's also like The Grey without wolves, Gerry without the desert, or Alive without visible cannibalism. The sad thing however, is that Arctic isn't quite as terrifying, high arty, or compelling as the films just mentioned. Yup, it must have been a little too warm on the North Pole when Arctic's "man against nature" plight went down.

Directed by first-timer Joe Penna (he's a shorts and TV guy), containing almost no backstory, and made on a minuscule budget of $2 million, Arctic gives us its strongest asset in lead Mads Mikkelsen. As Overgard, Mads gives a performance that is totally weathered and seemingly staunch. Being perfectly cast in looks and in speaking voice, Mikkelsen effectively rivals the Robert Redford persona from All Is Lost (mentioned earlier).

Image result for arctic movie scenesIn conclusion, Arctic's music by Joseph Trapanese is rousing and wholly baseline for this type of genre. As for Arctic's cinematography (by Tomas Orn Tomasson), well the budget constraints make it feel like it was tersely filmed in snowy Colorado (or any Canadian province). Bottom line: Arctic isn't mediocre but it sure comes off like a paint-by-numbers exercise in brute survival. You take away the parching screen presence of Mads Mikkelsen and the outcome might be even worse. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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