Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic.
Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic. Bleecker Street via AP

MOVIE REVIEW: Cold comfort for a magnificent Mads Mikkelsen

ARCTIC (M)

 

Rating: Four stars (4 out of 5)

 

Director: Joe Penna (feature debut)

 

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen.

 

Do worry, because everything's going to be all white

 

 

Do you recall marveling at those stirring solo survival skills of Tom Hanks in Cast Away?

Or Matt Damon in The Martian? What about Shailene Woodley in Adrift?

Well, this self-sufficient lot now have some great company in the forlornly determined form of Mads Mikkelsen in Arctic.

Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic.
Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic. Helen Sloan/Bleecker Street via AP

The great Danish actor of The Hunt and TV's Hannibal fame plays Overgard, a cargo pilot whose plane has crashed in a region that is too close to the North Pole for any living being's comfort.

We are given no details as to how long he has been there, who he is working for, or who might be waiting for him back home.

All we do know is supplies are almost gone, and the possibility of rescue is minimal.

Nevertheless, as we become familiar with Overgard's daily routine - divided evenly between looking for food and keeping his SOS system intact - we sense something in him that inspires hope.

Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic.
Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic. Bleecker Street via AP

Without giving anything away, Overgard may not a man with much to say, but as Arctic unfolds, he does increasingly become a man with much to do.

In what accounts for the movie's only discernible twist, Overgard is forced to make a life-or-death decision on someone else's behalf.

Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic.
Mads Mikkelsen in a scene from Arctic. Helen Sloan/Bleecker Street via AP

Understanding how that person becomes involved and integral to his desperate plight is best experienced by viewers in the moment. While this development does come out of nowhere, rest assured it will be taking the movie somewhere that will stay with you for some time to come.

Though a decidedly minimalist action picture, Arctic achieves maximum impact thanks to Mikkelsen's rugged, yet tender portrayal of a man whose only choice is to chill, or be chilled.

 

 


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