A man stranded in the Arctic after a helicopter crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown.
The premise of ‘Arctic’ is essentially ‘Mads Mikkelsen’ stranded in the arctic and to be honest it’s a premise I can immediately get on board with. Mikkelsen is Overgård, a man who we first meet as he goes about his daily routine somewhere in the Arctic Circle, finding food for survival whilst seeking rescue. We don’t know how long he’s been here, nor how he got here, although the crashed plane he takes shelter in provides some clues. He is soon joined by a companion after a rescue helicopter crashes nearby, killing the pilot and injuring a young woman, who Overgård starts to look after.
The film is directed by Joe Penna in his feature debut and I thought it was an accomplished debut that makes the most of its stripped back setting. Joseph Trapanese’s score is soaring and immerses you in the events on screen and the cinematography makes the most of the sparse landscape that pits man against nature. In Mads Mikkelsen, the film has a perfectly cast leading man, the Dane delivering a tour de force performance and commanding your attention every minute he’s on screen (which is virtually every minute). The plot doesn’t do anything unexpected but it’s a film I was always invested in, which is testament to Penna and to Mikkelsen in particular.
If you like a good survival thriller, ‘Arctic’ will be right up your street and it’s well worth seeking out. Also worth taking this opportunity to plug ‘All is Lost’, the Robert Redford starring film set at sea from a few years ago that for me remains the pinnacle of this subgenre.
Directed By: Joe Penna
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen and Maria Thelma Smáradóttir