Film Review: Arctic

Located at the northernmost point of Earth, the Arctic region is a desolate and unforgiving place. Spanning a number of countries, the climate is brutally cold and the landscape is a mix of permafrost, arctic tundra, snow, ice and frigid ocean. If you get stranded there, you’re liable to die from exposure. Unless you’re eaten by a polar bear of gray wolves, that is. In Joe Penna’s new film, Arctic, this is the situation Overgård finds himself in.

After his plane crashes in a remote part of the arctic circle, Overgård’s (Mads Mikkelsen) only hope of survival is rescue. Stranded in the wilderness, the pilot uses his wits to stay alive as he settles in to wait for a search party. When the cavalry finally arrives, it isn’t the happy ending he envisaged. The chopper crashes and Overgård end up looking after the sole survivor (Maria Thelma Smaradottir). Her condition compels him to abandon his relative safety to trek into the unknown.

As with all good survival film (127 Hours, The Revenant, The Grey etc), Arctic lives or dies by the performance of its lead, and Mads Mikkelsen does not disappoint. He’s totally committed to the role and is entirely believable. The backdrop is beautiful and Penna uses the location to his benefit. Cleverly throwing dangers and pitfalls in Overgård’s path without it ever feeling forced or contrived. Arctic is a impressive self-contained thriller which uses the elements to great effect.

Arctic is in cinemas and released on Digital HD by Signature Entertainment from 10 May.

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