Mads on Tundra


27 May 2019| No Comments on Arctic     by Sean Chavel


He catches fish and then cuts it up to eat like sushi rather than creating the luxury of fire to cook it. Mads Mikkelsen is the latest to get his own one-man survivalist tale that allows an actor to act with more sweat and tears than with the aid of dialogue. Arctic is not going to be the most essential of the genre — Tom Hanks got to work wonders with a volleyball but Mads only gets to drag a sled with a body on it — but like “The Thing” or “The Grey” it has enough fearsome tundra to be one of the coldest-looking movies I’ve seen; there’s an early widescreen shot of icy wind terrain that is so daunting it could be an alien planet, except that it is our Earth.

Mads also gets to act opposite of a live trained polar bear, whom on camera looks too hungry to eat just fish. What makes the film slightly different from others is the guilt factor driving Mads to survive, where he is dragging along to get to an outpost sanctuary as much for the sake of another person as he is for himself.

“Arctic” can feel non-eventful at times, but that works in effect because when it does arrive at a predicament the suspense has been built, and you don’t know how he’s gonna get around the fact that he’s ill-equipped and non-prepared for the next task that lies before him. I still wasn’t wrung out by the end, but it made me fearful of ever going to the arctic, or even to Iceland, where the film was shot.

98 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “Never Cry Wolf” (1983); “Alive” (1993); “Touching the Void” (2003); “The Grey” (2011).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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