• Arctic (2018) - Burning cold - 9/10 (19/03/19)

    Arctic (2018)

    Arctic is an intense survival drama that convinces with raw acting performances, beautifully bleak landscapes and a realistic plot that convinces from start to finish. The story revolves around a middle-aged man who crashed his small plane somewhere in the Arctic Circle which killed the only other passenger on board. His daily routine consists of checking fishing lines for food, mapping his surroundings and running a distress beacon with a dynamo. One day, a small helicopter approaches but just when the survivor thought he would be rescued at last, the helicopter crashes in the snowstorm, killing the pilot instantly and injuring the young female passenger very seriously. The middle-aged man attempts to nurse the young woman back to health. She can hardly move nor speak and the two characters can barely communicate. The middle-aged man finds a map inside the crashed helicopter that identifies a camp that seems to be located at about two days of walking distance. He decides to go on this journey with the injured woman but the woman's difficult condition, fading hope, rough landscapes, a hungry polar bear and difficult weather conditions decrease their chances of survival.

    The movie convinces with stellar acting performances with no dialogues only very few monologues. Danish veteran actor Mads Mikkelsen had already proven in the past to be able to entertain despite the absence of dialogues in the experimental Valhalla Rising. He does it again in this more accessible film and his body language and facial expressions are stunningly realistic. The landscapes are beautiful yet bleak as the survivors travel through polar deserts, climb icy mountains and discover hidden cages underneath the ice. The plot is surprisingly realistic for a survival drama as the main character is quite intelligent and does everything he can to guarantee his partner's and his own survival. Despite his pragmatic approach, fate doesn't seem to be on his side and has logical mental and physical consequences. The film's unusual ending also offers some food for thought.

    Along with the brilliant Jungle which is based upon a true story under quite different circumstances, Arctic is one of the greatest survival dramas ever made and easily beats unjustifiably acclaimed movies like the unrealistic The Mountain Between Us. This film doesn't offer romantic escapism but bleak survival horror which is the only acceptable approach for this type of story. A more light-hearted version would be an insult to anyone who suffered similar fates in real life. Arctic is grippingly realistic which helps viewers empathize with the character of one the world's greatest actors. If you like survival dramas, this film is a mandatory reference for you and you should purchase this film once you have stopped reading my review.

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