like in the most of his movies, and his life also, philip kaufman hasn't decided yet if he is a european director from chicago, or an american commercial director with a taste of europe. the problem is that he has some european artistic ambitions, and american ways of simplification during filming. the worst of all problems of this picture is the fact that the main characters are over-simplified. one of the sailors is a know-nothing old school stereotype, the other is a cosmopolitan and idealistic stereotype, and the third is a "talking nigger" from teen movies. the second problem is the fact that the movie is too long and loses in momentum, until the climax in the end. but the strong points is a realistic treatment of the intercultural clash, much more brutal than in little big man, for example, without comic relieves and references to mythology. but the raw strength of the footage and the very arctic ice is not enough to make us forget the weaker parts.