Dawson City: Frozen Time


Dawson City: Frozen Time

Critics Consensus

Dawson City: Frozen Time takes a patient look at the past through long-lost film footage that reveals much more than glimpses at life through the camera's lens.



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 398
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Movie Info

Dawson City: Frozen Time pieces together the bizarre true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints dating from the early 1900s. Discovered buried under a hockey rink in a former Klondike Gold Rush town, their story reveals the links between the movie business and Manifest Destiny in North America.

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Critic Reviews for Dawson City: Frozen Time

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (13)

  • We come away with a contemplative suspicion that we're all participating in something, and even if we don't ever get to see the big picture, there probably is one and it might even make sense.

    Jul 12, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The true magic that "Dawson City" captures is, simply, the mystery of film itself: a medium that turned people into shadows that burned brighter than life.

    Jun 28, 2017 | Full Review…
  • In "Dawson City," Morrison offers a fiercely precise and discerning look at movies themselves as embodiments of history.

    Jun 15, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Bill Morrison, whose extraordinary documentary Decasia turned decomposing film stock into the stuff of avante-garde reverie, returns with another staggering journey into the past.

    Jun 15, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The thrilling documentary "Dawson City: Frozen Time" is indescribable not because it's ambiguous (it's totally straightforward) but because it does so many things so beautifully it is hard to know where to begin.

    Jun 15, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The movie's aesthetic is uniquely beautiful.

    Jun 9, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dawson City: Frozen Time

  • Oct 28, 2018
    A documentary that tries to do just a little too much. The story itself is fascinating â" the discovery in 1978 of a trove of lost silent films preserved in the permafrost of Dawson City, Canada. To me, the â~star of the showâ(TM) in the documentary needs to be the films, and I would have liked the focus to be there, after an introductory explanation of context. Instead, director Bill Morrison rewinds us all the way back through the history of Dawson, from its founding, the Yukon gold rush, and the subsequent changes to the town over the years. He also takes us through various news stories and social movements from the 1910â(TM)s and 1920â(TM)s, as they relate to footage that was discovered. I like history and some of this was interesting to me, and at its best he matches photos to footage (for example, a socialist agitator being deported back to Russia). At its worst he gets into minutiae of Dawsonâ(TM)s history, and instead of just showing some number of the silent films fragments themselves with explanation of the actors, attempts to match footage to what people in the present are talking about. For example, one of the discoverers of the trove says he had to call someone up to come have a look at it, so as heâ(TM)s describing that, we see footage of someone on the phone in an old movie. The background music is awfully eerie and odd in places too. It was interesting enough to watch and a lot of research and care went into the production, so depending on your interests, you may like it better.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer

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