Most films that have somebody stranded tend to grab my attention because of the main-focus being harsh environments based on weather. “Arctic” is one of those movies that has very little dialogue and grasps your attention because of its scenery, its survival skills components, and its actor Mads Mikkelsen. The film is vast with nature, that it leaves viewers to wonder if our main character is going to survive. I found the film to very similar J.C. Chandor’s “All is Lost” (2013) but in the “Arctic” not the sea. However, “All is Lost” consists of one person, “Arctic” consists of two.
The film is set in the “Arctic” and we have Overgard (Mikkelsen), a man that has crash landed in an airplane at unexplained time. He has created a camp, made a ritual of when to go out and explore and look for food and resources for his survival, and has set times for sleeping and such. He hopes that someone will come to find him. His wishes of someone coming for him somewhat comes true but ends up failing. A helicopter crashes and only one person survives. That person is a young woman (played by Maria Thelma Smaradottir). When the plane crashes she is very injured, and she becomes Overgard’s other priority in terms of survival. This leads Overgard to go on a journey carrying the woman with him on a sled in hopes that both their lives will be saved.
“Arctic” (to me) is like the book by William Golding, Lord of the Flies. That is because these two people are stranded in the middle of the “Arctic” and are using items and resources for survival. Lord of the Flies is similar towards “Arctic” but has tons of moments in the book with conversations, literary devices, and personification moments. One element of “Arctic” that reminds me of Lord of the Flies is the alarms that Overgard sets for himself because of its meaning of getting motivated. That is similar towards the item the conch in Lord of the Flies. The conch would mean whoever has that item has the floor to speak. Both “Arctic” and Lord of the Flies set rituals to prevent its characters from driving themselves insane.
This is definitely a top-notch performance by Mikkelsen. I thought I saw his true dark side in Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Hunt” (2012) where one lie makes people turn against him and view him as the enemy where he is not. In “Arctic” he is not a quitter. He pushes himself emotionally and physically to get him and this lady to safety no matter the weather conditions. I wonder now what other Oscar performances he will do in the near future.
Overall, “Arctic” is a must-see movie. There are many epic moments of suspense and attempts at survival that it will leave viewers in full attention. It does lack in some moments, but the element of being very less dialogue creates “Arctic” to be more visually moving. I will probably watch it one more time. I will say three solid stars.