I went to see Arctic for only one reason: Mads Mikkelsen. I could be called a fangirl, to be honest, I don't mind. He has an incredible skill and even better personality (or at least "public personality"). He is humble and gives his whole heart to each project he participates in. No matter if it's a small film by an unknown director or a huge blockbuster from Marvel or Star Wars franchise. And when you hear him talking about it, the perception changes completely.
I used to love Mads for his Hannibal, but my true appreciation came after The Hunt and knowing how much he differs from both of the characters. And what was very important to me, he decided not to go into method acting. He wanted to stay himself for his family. So no matter how he loves his job, he didn't want to make the choice between that and the life of a husband and a father.
After the introduction, I feel obliged to say why I made this fangirl's ode. Arctic is a one-actor film. Apart from a very small role of an unknown Thai actress, Mads Mikkelsen was the only face we follow for over one and a half hour. I couldn't have thought of any better choice for that challenge. Mads' face can show volumes of feelings which I don't believe mine can. He can tell everything without words and this was the magic of Arctic.
The story focuses on a pilot whose plane crashed somewhere close to the North Pole. Through his routine, he wants to establish a connection with civilization. He clears his SOS sign, he catches fish and tries to charge a radio with the strength of his muscles. He spends every hour doing exactly what he planned to increase the chances of being rescued. But then his survival routine changes because of yet another plane crash. A Thai woman survived it but she got an ugly wound and is now sick. She can't leave the bed, she's barely conscious so he decides to save her by any means necessary.
The film itself couldn't differ much from any other survival one. Human survival in difficult habitat isn't a very broad subject and I strongly believe that cinema explored all of these emotions at least a thousand times. The art lies in expression and creating the atmosphere of empathy. Thoughts of what I would do in such a situation bugged me for the entire film and long afterwards. The reflection of humanity and our ethics was told by almost silent film and it stuck me with questions I believed I'd known answers to.
Meanwhile, it made me appreciate the beauty of the icy landscapes. The cinematography work was very thorough, especially since they were shooting while the snow was melting. All these icebergs were magnificent and mesmerizing. They composed perfectly with the music by Joseph Trapanesse (known from The Greatest Showman, Oblivion or Straight Outta Compton).
To be honest there's nothing more I could say that won't feel at least blunt. It is hard to describe feelings, especially the ones which are shown, not told. This film has the magic of the story about how to be true to oneself and how to love one another, no matter how hard the situation becomes.
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