February 23, 2020

‘Arctic’ delivers stunning cinematography, strong story

The Drexel Theatre recently updated its movie line-up with a new survival movie called Arctic.

Arctic stars Mads Mikkelsen and Maria Thelma Smáradóttir – that’s pretty much it. Yep, the core cast is only comprised of two actors, which is quite effective for the story.

The movie follows the perilous journey of a man named Overgård, a pilot that has crash-landed in the middle of the arctic. In a failed rescue attempt, Overgård meets an injured young woman whom he takes into his care.

From there, Overgård decides to brave the cold and unknown wasteland with the injured woman in tow.

This can be a challenging movie for some audiences to get through, due to its mellow pace and lack of engaging dialogue.

There are many scenes of just the characters traveling through the stark landscape. Granted, nearly every shot in this movie is incredible to look at due to great cinematography.

The movie utilizes a lot of extreme and normal long shots to show the vastness of the Arctic, while at the same time showing the isolation that the characters face.

A survival movie called The Grey (2011) is similar to this, but a problem with that movie is the reliance on a lot of close-ups, which took away from showing off the characteristics of the harsh environment.

Mads Mikkelsen plays the role of Overgård, a man who has crash landed in the arctic and fights for survival.

In a survival movie, the location is almost as important as the characters themselves, and it’s clear that the production team of Arctic knew this. This is an A+ job of capturing the beauty and harshness of nature. 

To go back to the topic of pacing, the movie definitely takes its time, but it still manages to execute a solid three-act structure.

We see the main character’s triumphs and defeats. There’s always this lingering presence of doom, but within that, there’s hope and integrity. Those elements create a great story to follow.

Dialogue in the movie is sparse, but the non verbal acting of Mikkelsen completely makes up for it. The performance was stellar. Mikkelsen demonstrated a great range of emotions in different scenarios.

Smáradóttir’s performance was good, but lacked the amount of presence that Mikkelsen had due to the circumstances of her character.

Despite being a gritty and often realistic survival movie, there were a couple parts at the end that were a bit ridiculous, notably the end sequence.

Without getting into spoilers, I actually love the final shot of the movie. There are some people that feel frustrated over the ending, but I thought it was the perfect way to end such a nail biting movie.

My problem isn’t with the final shot, but instead the sequence that inevitably leads up to it. It was kind of frustrating to the point of being comical. Once you see the full ending, you’ll know what I’m getting at.

Arctic turned out to be a great addition to the Drexel’s line up of releases. The movie shows the beauty of hope and willpower in the darkest of situations. If you’re a fan of gritty survivor movies, you can’t go wrong here.


  • Robert Cumberlander is a staff reporter for The Chimes and a sophomore at Capital University, majoring in Film and Media Production with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

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