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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Against the Ice 2022 * * 1/2 Stars


2022's Against the Ice is one of those cold weather movies, where you watch it from the comfort of your own home with a covering and a cup of hot, steaming cocoa. "Ice's" story, well it takes place in Greenland circa 1910, a country I thought no one in the world inhabited. You've got two guys (Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen played unrecognizably by Nikolaj Coster Waldau, Joe Cole as Iver Iversen), two against nature, trying to find a cairn over a 2000-plus-mile trek via some frozen tundra. "You never think you can't make it". Uh-huh, sure.

So yeah, why does Against the Ice not get into your central nervous system and stay there, like say survival dramas a la The Grey, Adrift, and/or '93's Alive. That's a good question, and I think only "Ice's" helmer (Peter Flinth) knows the real answer (I don't plan on emailing him in the near future). 

I mean why do the Mikkelsen and Iversen characters have beards that don't change their appearance over the span of being stranded for 2-plus years? And why does it appear that they haven't lost any weight despite food rationing and whatnot? And um, how come these dudes never froze to death for not lighting a fire occasionally in an autonomous territory with an average winter temp of -4 degrees Fahrenheit? 

Yeah I get it, Against the Ice is based on true events but come on filmmakers, make said true events stick a little. Mentally Ejnar Mikkelson and Iver Iversen are spent. Physically they seem fine, well maybe they just need a trip to the spa (har har). 

Resort treatments and dippy behaviors aside, Flinth's deft direction, numbing camera movement, and icy atmospherics nearly cut through "Ice's" shortcomings of a couple of explorers that seem Herculean and well, immune to hypothermia and good old sepsis. Turn your brain off at the door and you'll at least be able to handle one viewing. Lean "against".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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