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Arctic (2018) - Review

Updated on October 30, 2019

Arctic (2018) - Review

Mads Mikkelsen (playing Overgard) is stranded, plane wrecked in the arctic with nothing more than a broken down plane for shelter, and not before long a helicopter by chance comes past the plane wreckage. However, disaster strikes as the helicopter - due to severe snow storm weathering crashes after locating Overgard in the snow.

Now 2 plane wreckages, Overgard makes his way over to the helicopter crash site looking for survivors, but the pilot was killed on impact, leaving just the passenger alive, a young woman named Maria Thelma. Maria is wounded quite severely, and Overgard must decide whether to stay in the safety of the plane wreckage or make way to a base camp miles away.

Mads Mikkelsen has never once done a disappointing movie, and Arctic is no exception. Mikkelsen’s performance in Arctic is some of his finest, especially given that with the movies desolate setting it is all down to his performance that essentially makes the movie a success or a bust. Thankfully, Mikkelsen keeps the tension high with his flawless performance that rivals Leonard DiCaprio’s The Revenant, which has a similar survivalist theme.

Arctic is a fine survivalist movie without anything holding it back, especially since Mikkelsen has such prominent screen presence showing he can do versatile work as an actor, as well as setting up the tension which surrounds Arctic from start to finish. We learn, not that it isn’t all that well known at this point, Mikkelsen is a pilot who has been stranded at a plane wreckage for quite some time, but how long exactly is not made all that clear, not that this takes anything away from the movie overall, although it is interesting.

The director, Joe Penna, makes his directorial debut with Arctic (full feature length film, that is), and proves he can keep tensions high for a long length of time with minimal action, and a lot of survivalist drama. Throughout the movie it becomes clear that there is total drive coming from Mikkelsen’s character, but what is truly impressive is the lack of talking throughout the movie, yet every moment is viscerally gripping. Joe Penna clearly wanted to make a movie that took audiences on a journey through the arctic which is why the title of the movie, Arctic, really sticks in the mind all throughout the movie. An impressive first movie debut for Penna, and throughout the entirety of the movie not once was there a wasted camera shot, as everything was perfectly placed and timed.

The execution of Arctic was nearly as good as the writing, with a focus remaining on the struggles of journeying through the depths of the arctic. Everything within Arctic rides on Mikkelsen’s performance, and the struggle really felt clear and ever-present throughout the movie, as it was within Mikkelsen’s eyes. When something along the journey wasn’t working Mikkelsen would immediately re-route dragging the sledge holding the wounded young girl across the thick snow for what felt like an eternity and that’s all the while ones sat at home in the warm comforts of a sofa.

On the maps the journey seemed fairly doable, but add in the fact that there are mountainous terrains and the whole trip begins to seem impossible. The struggle between man and the extremities of the arctic come into full swing throughout this movie, as Mikkelsen must overcome the pain and physical restraints to get himself and the young girl to safety.

Why I Respect Arctic!

Clearly the arctic is no place for the faint of heart as this movie has proven, and with food, supplies, and time running out things become intense real fast watching Arctic.

Generally, one feels the need to respect survivalist movies, and Arctic falls neatly into this category. Typically speaking, survivalist movies have never really been a big deal in my eyes, but there’s no denying that there is no better deserving sub-genre for Oscar worthy attention. Arctic, again, falls perfectly into alignment with this theme for an Oscar worthy movie.

Never have I myself ever really loved survivalist movies, but there’s no escaping them, especially since these appear to be the better of the movies that have released in recent years. Arctic is an intense movie to eyewitness, but this is the joy of a great survivalist movie, as audiences truly expect to be at the edge of their seats. Arctic is a great survivalist movie.

Going into first watching the opening scene for Arctic my toes were twitching as there was no knowing whether this would be a good viewing or a complete disaster. But, as soon as the obvious becomes apparent and the movie starts rolling it was an intense rollercoaster from beginning till end.

Mikkelsen delivers an Oscar worthy performance, the vast open space of the arctic is breathtaking, the drama is relentless, and the pressure is truly on to get to safety before time runs out and the young girl dies from her potentially fatal wounds. All the way through the movie Mikkelsen is poised, alert, fast acting, and determined to save the young girls life to get her home to her child.

Rating: 4/5

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