In 1991, a body was discovered by German tourists in the Central Eastern Alps. They initially thought it was the recently-deceased corpse of a mountaineer, but remarkably it was discovered to belong to a man who lived between 3400 and 3100 BC. Scientific studies established that he was in his forties when he died and the cadaver was so well preserved they could even identify the contents of his last meal. Ötzi, named after the place of his discovery, is the world’s oldest mummy. Iceman is a fictionalised biopic of his life.
Filmed entirely in Rhaetian (an ancient language spoken in the Eastern Alps) without subtitles, Ötzi is Kelab (Jürgen Vogel), the leader of a group who live on the slopes of a mountain. Whilst he’s away hunting, the clan is attacked and slaughtered by a horde of marauders. After completing a death ritual for his wife, he sets off with an infant, the only survivor, on the trail of the perpetrators. Determined to exact revenge in the bloodiest fashion.
Iceman is a visually stunning and powerfully evocative story of a man determined to avenge the massacre of his tribe and the death of his wife. A strong central performance from Vogel is aided by a soaring score from Beat Solèr. Whilst the decision by director Felix Randau to keep us in the dark regarding the dialogue may initially seem strange, actions speak louder than words. Indeed, this device adds weight to proceedings. Iceman is a primal tale of loss and revenge which has been echoed throughout the ages.
Iceman is in UK cinemas and on demand from 27 July.