Arctic Movie (2019) Explained
For those looking for high octane action, dialogue even, and something a lot more than this simple premise of a man stranded than
But for everyone else, it’s easily one of the best films of 2019 and one of the best performances from Mads.
The original story for this film had Mas stranded on Mars, but thankfully this got moved to a snowy landscape instead because you really do get to feel the anguish on Mads’ face. That’s cause he actually did film this somewhere in Iceland, in what he describes as the hardest movie shoot in his long career.
When we meet Overgard for the first time he’s working on something that takes time to figure out what it is exactly. A simple SOS, one that will probably not do anything at all but still, the effort needs to be made here.
And Overgard, still just a few days or months in his new stranded life, has the will, for now, to be making SOS messages. The thing that’s so fascinating about Arctic is the serious lack of dialogue. No, really, it’s pure silence throughout the movie and this adds to this sense of dread and isolation.
After 10-15 minutes you, much like Overgard here, being to feel this painful loneliness. It’s easy and simple storytelling and filmmaking technique, but one that does wonders for the film, adding to its already incredible atmosphere. Since the movie does start out with Overgaard already stranded, we don’t really know how long he’s been in this scary situation.
We’re only left to wonder and ponder and decide for ourselves whether he’s been there for days or months. You need to look at his tired face, the small hut he’s built for himself, the food he’s been capturing.
The details are in the visual imagery. Pay attention, and you might start to understand Overgard’s mindstate. When Overgard is trying to capture some food, a
Another helicopter arrives out of nowhere, but before Overgard has time to yell for help and react in an optimistic way, it too crashes. Wherever this place really is, helicopters aren’t meant to fly over it. And something brilliant then happens immediately after. Overgard doesn’t react.
He just stands here, with his feet seemingly frozen onto the snow. As the audience, you’re pleading for him to go run after the copter, to go see if there are any survivors. But he’s just standing, contemplating, wondering if this really is the end for him.
You begin to realize he’s been here for quite a while and the pessimism is not only starting to creep in, it has already enveloped his entire mindstate a long time ago. But of course, he does eventually run after the copter. There’s a female survivor, nameless, with an awful wound, some noodles, even a lighter. So running after her might’ve been the right decision after all, at least for the time being.
Overgard realizes this woman has a child and husband, a family she was willing to give up to come to rescue him. He feels guilty. It was worse enough he’s stranded and ready to perish, but he has dragged someone along with him.
Heck, he even runs into a bear attack, one that’s so beautifully filmed. Intense, and mesmerizing. In Arctic, it’s really not about Hollywoodizing this situation, to turn a melodrama into a state of survival. It’s not as simple as that.
All you see here is Overgaard trying to live another day, setting his alarm which reminds him to keep going, changing his socks, capturing food, until one day that rescue will come.