Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:55 pm 
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Winter Doldrums Movie Journal, continued.

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ARCTIC (Joe Penna 2018)
Want to chase your Winter Doldrums with somebody else's winter horrors? Joe Penna is a Brazilian musician who became famous on YouTube, and this, his first feature film, debuted as a midnight showing at Cannes. It's a rigorous, sparsely told, grueling-to-watch survival story with few audience satisfactions other than to make you glad you're not spending winter stranded at the North Pole. Actually shot in Iceland, it stars the handsomely weathered-looking Danish veteran actor Mads Mikkelsen as the lone survivor of a small plane crash. A grimly ironic event leaves him with somebody else to save. The monotonous and repetitive action has been compared to Bresson's A Man Escaped. It's Beckettian too, also Sisyphean; sometimes just plain boring, but overall, agonizing. Like Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Overgård (Mikkelsen) is stranded, dogged, competent and methodical. But where Crusoe is endlessly chatty, Overgård rarely speaks. Cinematography and digital effects, including an awesome giant polar bear, are great; the score, though overbearing, is at times welcome for filling the void. The storytelling is stingy. No intro crash; a final rescue barely hinted at. Its mere 97 minutes will not be time you'll get back. Cannes May 10, 2018 debut (Out of Competition). Metacritic 71. Watched at Albany Twin (Landmark) Feb. 15, 2019.

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