On the Ice (2012)
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as Helicopter Pilot
as Trooper Tagak
as Teen Girl
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Critic Reviews for On the Ice
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.
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.
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.
Unfortunately, the emotional landscape of MacLean's stoic main character, Qalli, is often as blank as the tundra.
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.
Audience Reviews for On the Ice
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.
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.
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