Against the Ice
Cannes virtually banned Netflix from their red carpet, while Venice invited multiple productions of the streaming giant into their lineup. Berlin doesn’t seem to have made up its mind: a single Netflix creation premiered out of competition as a Berlinale Special Gala.
Against the Ice is a survival drama about the historical Denmark expedition, with Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole as the leads.
In 1909, after previous expeditions failed, another Danish exploration team set out to northeastern Greenland to investigate claims of a channel separating the island. If the Peary Channel truly existed, the territory could be claimed by the United States, much to Denmark’s detriment. On dog sleds, captain Ejnar Mikkelsen and wet-behind-the-ears Iver Iversen leave behind the safety of their base ship, and travel through the icy cold a human being has yet to return from.
Danish director Peter Flinth ventures into his country’s history of perilous expeditions, likely inspired by the success of The Revenant. Shot on location in Greenland and Iceland, the vast landscape that works as the story’s antagonist is evidenced in striking imagery.
In addition to portraying the driven captain, Coster-Waldau also co-wrote the script and worked as a producer. The Danish actor’s dedication to the project is apparent in his firm performance.
Although both co-stars hit their individual marks, their interplay – the dominant dramaturgic element – is devoid of chemistry. Initially annoyed by the young mechanic’s inexperience and his constant babbling, the captain’s asserted development to friendship does not transform on-screen. Two men, who spend every day and night together for two years, sharing resources and fighting outside forces, putting their lives into each others hands, would surely drop the strongman act at some point?
Based on the true story Mikkelsen recounts in the auspiciously called novel Two Against the Ice, the film adaptation’s depicted relationship lacks the vulnerability and intimacy that the reality of these circumstances demands.
Against the Ice does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.