Arctic, rated PG-13
With theatres closed and no new films to watch, my wife and I have taken the opportunity to watch some recent films that we had missed. One of those was Arctic, a film that focuses on a single character and includes minimal dialogue. The film is directed by Joe Penna in his feature film directorial debut, and written by Penna and Ryan Morrison. The film was shot in Iceland and had a budget of approximately $2 million.
Overgård, played by Mads Mikkleson (Hannibal), is stranded in the Arctic tundra after his Antonov An-2 plane crashed there. We don’t know the circumstances of the crash, nor how long he has been there. Living in his plane, Overgård has settled into a systematic daily routine – fishing for his food, creating and recreating (as the fierce winds cover it over) a large S.O.S. in the snow, and cranking a radio system to send a signal that would alert would-be rescuers. He stays on task with these activities by an alarm on his watch.One day, he finally sees a helicopter coming to rescue him. Tragically, the heavy winds cause the helicopter to crash, killing one passenger and critically injuring the other, a young woman played by Maria Thelma Smáradóttir. Overgård gathers some supplies from the crashed helicopter, buries the dead pilot and takes the young woman back to his plane, even though he could have left her to die and nobody (but him) would have known.
Overgård tells the young woman that help is coming, as others will be looking for her. He tenderly cleans and bandages her deep wound, bundles her up, and gives her a small amount of food and water, though her eyes remain closed.
Overgård is skilled at reading a map, and sees that a station is a few day’s travel away. Given the young woman’s critical condition, he makes the decision to embark on the dangerous trip to the station over rugged terrain and mountains, pulling the young woman on a sled, rather than waiting for someone to rescue her. The risk is that the two will freeze to death before they reach the station. Along the way they may also run into the huge polar bear that recently stole the fish that Overgård had caught for his food. Will Overgård be able to successfully make the trip?
The film features outstanding cinematography from Tómas Örn Tómasson and haunting music from Joseph Trapanese (The Greatest Showman, Straight Outta Compton).
Themes in the film include self-sacrifice, survival, hope, fear, pain, endurance, tenacity and perseverance). Content concerns include some adult language (sub-titled).
Arctic is a beautifully filmed movie that features an outstanding performance by Mads Mikkleson as a pilot stranded in the Arctic tundra.