Brittany Runs a Marathon
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Arctic opens with M. Overgård, a cargo pilot stranded by a plane crash in a desolate wasteland north of the Arctic Circle, scrawling a gigantic SOS into landscape by selectively clearing large areas of tundra of snow. Overgård, as this scene establishes, is skilled, determined, and patient. A second crash, however, leaves a badly wounded young woman in his care, and her rapidly deteriorating condition necessitates a trek across the icy landscape. Apart from the directorial decision to begin after the plane crash, none of these plot elements are uncommon for wilderness survival movies. The movie stands out largely due to Mads Mikkelsen's performance and some excellent cinematography. Mikkelsen gives a performance of a quality remarkable given the extreme paucity of dialogue. As for the cinematography, it makes the tundra practically a character of its own. The cinematography also helps establish the movie's tone, complemented by a soundtrack which helps build the sense of desperation which permeates the entire film. Arctic is not my favorite film of its type, and the bleakness made it difficult to watch at times, but it's worth checking out if you enjoy the genre.