I had heard nothing about this movie. I had not seen one poster, trailer or promotional material. After seeing it on the Cinemark listing this weekend, I did check out the Rotten Tomatoes score and it was high (in the upper 80s if I remember) so I was excited. I was hoping to start off the review with the line, “I never heard of this movie, but it is now one of the best movies of the year.”
Unfortunately, I can’t say that.
It was really good, but it did not completely enthrall me as I had hoped it would do.
Don’t mistake me though, Arctic, starring Mads Mikkelsen, is a fabulous movie of survival in the harshest conditions imaginable. There were many times when I thought to myself, “This guy is doomed.” That was good storytelling.
Mads Mikkelsen is a character who is never specifically named in the movie, but had the name “H. Overgard” on his coat, so it looked as if that is his name. Apparently, according to IMDB, the director Joe Pinna had hinted that the name was Hannibal.
Overgard had crashed his plane in the snow and the winds of the Arctic and he had been trying to survive for awhile when we first meet him. Then, a rescue helicopter was spotted and it seemed like it was going to be a short movie. However, the copter crashed too and Overgard had to try and help one of the copter pilots, a young woman who we never get named, played by María Thelma Smáradóttir.
The mostly unconscious pilot and Overgard had to face a number of dangers in a desperate attempt to survive. It gets so tough that you never know what was going to be the next tribulation they had to face. Of course, we have seen all of these winter survival hazards before, but Mikkelsen make them all feel fresh again.
The film was a beautifully shot film, with amazing scenery with every moment. It becomes very intense at many times as Overgard tries to save the pilot by going on a trek back to her camp by following a map he found in the wreckage.
Mads Mikkelsen was tremendous in this performance, especially since there was very little dialogue for him to use to get across his thoughts and concerns. Despite this, you never doubted what Overgard was thinking and the internal struggle was apparent all over his expressive and snow damaged face. As only one of three credited actors, Mads Mikkelsen carried this film on his shoulders from the first scene.
Unfortunately, I cannot claim this is one of the best movies of the year, but it is a fine film that should keep you on the edge of your seat. I really have had enough snow this year to last me for a good long while, but this one was worth seeing a little bit more.