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On the Ice (2012)

tomatometer

60

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

62

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 673

My Rating

Movie Info

Shot entirely on location in Barrow, Alaska, On The Ice is the engrossing and suspenseful feature film debut by filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean about two teenage boys who have grown up like brothers go about their lives in the comfortable claustrophobia of an isolated Alaskan town. Early one morning, on a seal hunt with another teenager, an argument between the three boys quickly escalates into a tragic accident. Bonded by their dark secret, the two best friends are forced to create one

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

Aug 7, 2012

$70.5k

PMK-BNC Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (5)

The effect is stunningly effective, submerging us in a snowy, frozen, barren land with few options but plenty of opportunities for trouble. It is an offbeat gem.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An authentic look at life in remote Alaska (the film was shot with a native cast in MacLean's hometown of Barrow) and at a people grappling with drugs, alcoholism, poverty and the limits of an unforgiving environment.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If only because of the setting, this is an uncommonly involving thriller. I could call it a film noir, except that the sun never sets in the film.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Unfortunately, the emotional landscape of MacLean's stoic main character, Qalli, is often as blank as the tundra.

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While Mr. Irelan and a few of the supporting players have some solid moments (the entire cast consists of nonprofessionals), the general vibe is too stilted to convince.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sturdy vehicle for unadorned morality and pragmatic justice.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

MacLean finds a steady rhythm that nicely captures life in the middle of nowhere. "On the Ice" stays frosty throughout, but it's engrossing if you can adjust to the temperature.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Set in a remote Alaskan village, the film's great strength is making the landscape utterly extraordinary to the audience but painfully mundane to its protagonists.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Stark, unadorned, timeless and yet of the moment. Wear your mittens.

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood & Fine
Hollywood & Fine

The film is as much a portrait of a place as it is a narrative, and cinematographer Lol Crawley shoots the white-on-white polar expanses like they're vistas stretching to the ends of the earth...

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

DP Lol Crawley's best efforts can't quite overcome the rather awkward performances of the film's mostly nonprofessional cast.

February 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for On the Ice

An Alaskan thriller that benefits from its locations and cinematography, efficiently exploring the white vastness of the snow and the atmosphere of isolation. However, the amateurish actors put in weak, irregular performances, while the unoriginal script does not offer any surprises.
January 11, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

In "On the Ice," Aivaaq(Frank Qutuq Irelan) and Qalli(Josiah Patkotak) are the best of friends while living on the Arctic Circle. At the same time, their lives are heading in vastly different directions. Aivaaq is about to become a father for the first time while Qalli is on a path to college. Still, they go to a party together that Qalli leaves early to visit his grandmother(Rosabelle Kunnanna Rexford). When Qalli goes out to meet Aivaaq and James(John Miller) for hunting the following morning, he finds the two fighting which soon escalates into something much more serious. James knocks out Aivaaq with a shovel and tries to kill him which Qalli prevents, accidentally killing James in the process.

You have to commend any movie that takes us any place that we rarely see to meet people we would never have any contact with otherwise which is what "On the Ice" does quite well. In this Alaskan village, there is a tight-knit community where traditions are starting to fade, just as the youth feel they are trapped by limited opportunities, leading to underage drinking. For the record, this is also kind of simplistic and if you want to shock me with teenage drinking, then you are thirty years too late. But the movie manages to just twist the usual pardigms enough to make it interesting. Just remember. Stay in school and don't do drugs.
March 30, 2014
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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