Beyond the Pole (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Beyond the Pole (2009)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Two men with more ambition than sense set out to cross the arctic in this mock-documentary comedy. Mark Bark-Jones (Stephen Mangan) and Brian Tongue (Rhys Thomas) are a pair of environmental activists who've decided to take their own slogan "Don't Be Impotent, Be Important" to heart by staging an event that will attract attention to their campaign against global warming. Mark and Brian are determined to stage the first carbon-neutral journey to the North Pole, with the vegetarian hikers making the journey entirely under their own power and with only organically produced supplies. Mark and Brian know next to nothing about hiking through the frozen wastes, so it's fortunate that a filmmaker (Helen Baxendale) has decided to document their journey, and the cameraman she's hired, Steve (Clive Russell), has the know-how they lack. As the two hikers bumble their way across the snow and ice, with just one guy with a HAM radio (Mark Benton) serving as their support crew, they struggle to do their bit for the environment, through Mark seems to be just as interested in personal glory and their families are convinced they're crazy. Things only get worse when Mark and Brian discover another pair of "green" hikers from Norway are also making their way to the pole, and with greater speed. Beyond The Pole was an official selection at the 2010 Palm Beach International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Beyond the Pole

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1)

With considerable experience in both comedy and genuine docus, helmer David L. Williams... knows exactly the filmmaking cliches he's spoofing, as well as the deadpan comic timing needed to stretch this over feature length.

Full Review… | March 19, 2010
Variety
Top Critic

This is gummy (if welcome) eco-film satire, then, but mostly just a vehicle for tent and crampon gags, and for Mangan to perfect his grating-dolt shtick.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010

This engaging comedy is consistently amusing rather than ferociously funny, but it has heart, ensuring an unexpectedly affecting climax.

Full Review… | March 23, 2010
Future Movies UK

Eschewing easy slapstick, director David L Williams finds humour in unexpected places. The Arctic has never been so much fun.

Full Review… | March 23, 2010
Eye for Film

A likeable but giggle-free Brit comedy that brings nothing new to the ubiquitous mockumentary format, it succeeds only in gumming its targets instead of sinking its teeth into them.

Full Review… | March 22, 2010

It is by turns a ferocious 'j'accuse' of the limits of liberal intervention and the myth of personal responsibility, underpinned by a surprisingly bitter current of darkness and despair.

March 19, 2010
Little White Lies

Audience Reviews for Beyond the Pole

Quite fun but pretty lightweight in most ways, this should, perhaps, have gone straight to television and only the impressive locations ever make it feel any more than that.

The  Shrewlord
The Shrewlord

Super Reviewer

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival premiered Beyond the Pole on Feb. 5 to a majority of the audience sharing the same opinion: we loved it. The film opens with images of a harsh reality - global warming and the effects it has taken in the Arctic. However, the story quickly turns to comedy to get the message out. Best friends Mark (Stephen Mangan) and Brian (Rhys Thomas) decide to hike to the North Pole unsupported and without ever doing such a thing in their lives. Filmed as a "mockumentary" of their travels, the duo aims to get entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the first unsupported, carbon-neutral, organic, and vegetarian expedition to the North Pole. Their family and friends scoff at the idea (with much worry from Brian's wife) and continually tell them that they will die. Their response: "We're not going there to die, we're going there to live!" with the motto of Don't be impotent, be important! Halfway through the film the gay, Norwegian Olympic duo starring Alexander Skarsgård and Lars Arentz-Hansen enter into the mix. Claiming to be a carbon-neutral, vegetarian, and organic expedition as well, it becomes a race to the finish between them and Mark and Brian. Hilarity ensues when there is a lover's quarrel between the Norwegians in their native language. A highlight of the four of them together is when there is a dispute over whether Brian took a biscuit from the Norwegian team or not (clip below). As the days go on and time begins to run out, Mark is beginning to succumb to the stress of their travels. Mark takes measures into his own hands and doing whatever it takes to get them to the North Pole first and as quickly as possible. In the meantime, Brian struggles to keep Mark's composure during their journey. Stephen and Rhys do a remarkable job portraying best friends; their chemistry together makes one think they have known each other for ages. Rosie Cavaliero who plays Brian's wife, Sandra is fantastic - while she is riddled with worry about her husband, she is also supportive of his decision. The film also stars Helen Baxendale (Friends) and Mark Benton, who do a great job as key roles throughout the movie. All in all, I give the film five out of five stars. You will find yourself laughing out loud with the audience and learning an important lesson on global warming as well. Director and co-writer, David L. Williams had the right idea to use comedy to raise awareness to the masses on the issue. Review by the Alexander Skarsgard Examiner with Examiner.com

Melissa Zaro
Melissa Zaro

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