AGAINST THE ICE
(director: Peter Flinth; screenwriter: book “Two Against The Ice” by Ejnar Mikkelsen, Joe Derrick, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau; cinematographer: Torben Forsberg; editor: Morten Hojbjerg; music: Volker Bertelmann; cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ( Ejnar Mikkelsen), Joe Cole (Iver Iversen), Heida Reed (Naja), Gísli Örn Garðarsson (Jörgensen), Sam Redford (Laub), Diarmaid Murtagh (Poulsen), Edward Speleers (Bessels), Frankie Wilson (Unger), Charles Dance (Neergaard), Þorsteinn Bachmann (Amdrup); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Baltasar Kormákur, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Netflix; 2022-Iceland/Denmark-in English)
“A lumbering adventure film, told by the numbers, that is only average.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An old-fashioned survival drama, shot on the real locations. It’s a retelling of Danish explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen’s epic Greenland expedition, from 1909-1912, that’s directed by Denmark filmmaker Peter Flinth (“Nobel’s Last Will”/”A Place in the Sun”). It’s based on the memoir “Two Against The Ice” by Ejnar Mikkelsen, which was published posthumously. The film is co-written by Joe Derrick and the film’s star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (starred in “Game of Thrones”).
In 1909, two explorers, the 29-year-old captain, Ejnar Mikkelsen (played by the 59-year-old Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Iver Iversen (Joe Cole), the inexperienced young mechanic, fight the severe cold elements and hunger to survive after they’re left behind from their wooden Alabama ship. They are volunteering to explore on the barren ice-covered area for proof that a stone cairn was left where previous explorers from Denmark were in the unknown part of Greenland-its North Eastern part-so the land can be claimed by Denmark and will refute the claim made for the land by the Americans because of Robert. E. Peary exploration.
Both men survived 865 days in the blustery winter. This is their story, a lumbering adventure film, told by the numbers, that is only average. Whose most dramatic moment might be of a husky dangling over a cliff. We also get to witness some Polar bear attacks and scenes where the Captain hallucinates over his sweetheart back home Naja (Heida Reed).
The first investigation sled trek made by Mikkelsen ended in failure when he returned because his shipmate partner (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) had several frozen toes that had to be amputated.
In the second sled trek, after 793 days, the men return to find the Alabama deserted and a shack built from its planks by their deserter crew-mates. But they have enough food to last them several years, as they battle cabin fever waiting to be rescued.
It was screened at the 2022 Berlinale Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 3/3/2022 GRADE: B–