On the Ice - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

On the Ice Reviews

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September 12, 2018
Probably the best film ever made about Alaska. The acting, direction and story are breathtaking, it has the perfect amount of suspense, just a terrific film.
July 5, 2016
Being in the article circle must be as close as you can come to being in outer space without leaving the earth's surface. A vast empty place where life seemingly doesn't exist and if something goes wrong help could be so far away as to not even consider it a reasonable possibility. It's the perfect place for this kind of thriller.

This movie does well what a lot of other similar type movies in this genre does, play up suspense of who will turn on each other, how close is an outsider to learning the truth, do they already know and are they just toying with you.

However, I feel some of the acting felt a bit wooden at times. Nothing too distracting, but it's something I noticed. Yet, the landscape, visuals, and cast, all of whom are native Alaskans, gives the film a much needed fresh feel about it. They truly elevate it from being and bland run of the mill movie to one much more memorable.
February 22, 2015
An interesting movie about teenage life in isolated Alaska.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2014
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.
February 6, 2014
Well made but the acting could've been better, at the same time it gives it an authenticity that most movies rarely have.
½ November 19, 2013
Bleak but not overwhelmingly so, and claustrophobic in a small town way. Great cinematography both for its seemingly endless icy wastes and for its fascinating impressions of a remote, unfamiliar culture, unfortunately dealing with all too familiar social problems. Contrary to some reviews, the acting is well up to the mark, particularly Patkotak's entrancing performance as Qalli. Obviously professional actors' tricks of the trade were not in evidence, but they're so often overused, and in my opinion inappropriate here anyway. Niggles really were just that, and easily ignored. Completely engrossing.
½ June 10, 2013
The terrible acting oddly makes the film much more realistic.
½ June 2, 2013
A fine film about youth in Alaska who struggle with alcohol, drugs and teenage angst just like in any other American town - friends go out onto the ice and tragedy ensues. How they deal with it is what makes this thriller - well - intriguing.
½ May 8, 2013
Terriffic drama that is well acted character study that had me empathising with these characters.....we need more of these great little indies,very welcomed surprise.
November 13, 2012
In the desolated outreaches of Alaska two teens struggle with an accidental homicide - it's a respectable debut from Andrew Okpeaha MacLean but it moves too slowly and fails to captivate or suck you in...so sit back, grab your buttered raw Nanuq and try to enjoy this Boyz n' the Hood/Fargo themed thriller, Inuit style.
November 7, 2012
Set in a remote Alaskan village, the film's greatest strength is making the landscape utterly extraordinary to the audience but painfully mundane to its protagonists.
September 29, 2012
Interesting look at young culture in Alaska within the backdrop of a tragic death. While I liked many facets of the film suffers from the use of non-professionals in the lead roles. still worth a watch.
September 10, 2012
spannendes coming of age drama aus alaska
½ August 26, 2012
Surprisingly engrossing and relevant film about current societal issues, loyalty, young people approaching adukthood and moral issues. The only--but also the star--uniquesness of this small town is its landscape, climate, constant daylight, and freezing temperature....and miles of snowy wilderness. The same story could have been told in a woodsy American town, or in sunny California, or in a rich town, or a poor town. It's about universal problems facing our world today, as well as problems facing young people timelessly. I highly recommend this film.
July 30, 2012
Le procédé est bien connu, on le récompense même chaque année au festival de Sundance : des ados tête-à-claques se foutent la tête à l'envers, se disputent au sujet de leurs femelles et puis, pan, l'un d'eux refroidit bêtement son contradicteur. Le coupable se demande donc s'ils doit dire la vérité au risque d'hypothéquer son avenir, ou se débarrasser du cadavre discrétos. Du déjà-vu en somme, sauf qu'ici, tout se déroule "On the ice", dans l'extrême nord de l'Alaska, chez les Inuits...et que l'avenir, entre chasse au phoque, alcoolisme et nuit polaire, n'a pas tout à fait la même signification qu'ailleurs. "On the ice" n'a pourtant aucune vocation documentaire, même si le réalisateur, lui-même d'origine inuit, prend le temps de faire découvrir le quotidien de ce peuple du bout du monde. L'enquête de la communauté pour découvrir le fin mot de l'histoire se laisse suivre avec intérêt et les enjeux moraux du crime sont d'une universalité parfaitement retranscrite. Si on y ajoute ces paysages austères mais splendides et un contexte géographique et culturel déroutant, "On the ice" dispose des qualités nécessaires pour susciter un peu plus de curiosité et d'intérêt que la moyenne, même si ses mécanismes ne s'éloignent jamais des codes inhérents au genre.
½ July 21, 2012
A Story based around an isolated Alaskan town, where two boys grow up like brothers surrounded by alcoholism, poverty and a unforgiving environment.
March 23, 2012
While "On the Ice" wasn't a slick Hollywood production of life in the north, I thought it was very well done!
I really didn't know what the story line was when I went to see the movie, and was surprised with the direction it went, I left the theater knowing this was the most accurate representation of life as it is for some in the rural parts of the north.
I live in Nome Ak. and have grown kinda tired of seeing northern life as Hollywood likes to present it.
I thought the acting was excellent! Probably not as polished as professionals, but so much more accurate!
Great movie, I'll go see it again!
½ February 29, 2012
i like films that look at closely a world in which im not familiar with, and here is a fine example, looking at the alaskan inuit culture, it was made by all locals, so it was good to know that what we saw was probably a pretty accurate depiction of their life, as far as being a film, the story is very good and engaging and kept me interested throughout, the acting may have been a tad off or forced at times, but thats to be expected from non professionals
February 19, 2012
Loved it for its authenticity
February 17, 2012
Got to see On The Ice at Sundance, and it is not to be missed!! A poignant - and suspenseful - film, set against a truly stunning backdrop with hauntingly beautiful music. The performances are personal, there is real craft to the story-telling, and the film offers insight into a community most of us have little familiarity with. Go see it while you can!
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