Arctic : Sat | February 9 | 9:00 PM | SilverCity #3
A lone pilot named Overgård has crashed into an Icelandic wasteland of snow and ice. Trapped between driving snows and freezing temperatures, death might be inevitable except that Overgård is no ordinary man. In the husk of his former plane, he has built a shelter against the torment of outside. And through a hole in the ice, he pulls out a small trickle of bony fish to eat. He even has a SOS carved skyward to alert his eventual saviours. It seems that all he needs to do is wait. However, on the fateful day rescue does come, things start to go very wrong very quickly. For Overgård, staying still is suddenly no longer an option.
The bare brutality of survivalism always makes a great adventure yarn, but Arctic’s got an extra one-two punch that makes it just that much better. First up is the acting strength of Mads Mikkelson who brings every frame of this almost wordless film to life. Longtime VFF fans will remember him well from Coco Channel & Igor Stravinsky as well as the Oscar-nominated The Hunt. Both his Danish subtlety and rugged good looks play perfectly here, making for a complex character who doesn’t need a lot of explanation.
But the second hit here is first-time feature writer-director Joe Penna. His simple and direct storytelling easily turns the bleak landscapes into something truly grand and frightening. He’s been a YouTube star for well over a decade now, and that commitment to craft shows. This is a breakout feature film for a director who clearly has even more to offer.
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