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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Well-made survival story has intense peril, some blood.

Movie PG-13 2019 97 minutes
Arctic Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 12+

Arctic - Offers Some Challenges

Writer/Director Joe Penna’s quite powerful debut feature is helped immensely by Tomas Örn Tómasson’s stylish location cinematography, and Mads Mikkelsen is perfect in the lead. It’s a classic slow-burn survival story played out within inhospitable and constantly threatening landscapes. It also offers some helpful survivor tips (but avoids some also) - the sense of hopelessness is exacerbated by the irony of also having to care for a possible ‘rescuer’. As could be predicted, the pace is dictated by the attempts to exist in an ice-covered terrain. Some reviewers have said it lacks spirituality, and this could be true as no one can survive in a no man’s land, with so little hope of survival, without delving into that place in the mind that analyses the unknown. This is when we most feel the need to wonder about all those unanswered questions, the ones we can easily push out of our everyday thoughts, that is, when we don't need to think about them. Some say outright they don't believe in God, but when all we have to prove this is that powerful, but miniscule organ known as the human brain –actually makes this assumption rather humorous. Why? some ask. What are we mere mortals when measured against that endlessness of an infinite Universe? As molecules of this awesome vastness, how very little we can conclusively prove makes us almost ridiculously presumptuous, laying bare our own immense limitations. While we have both feet firmly planted in the safety of our modern world, we can seem invincible, but take us out of our comfort zones, and this is when we really get to know ourselves - and how little we actually comprehend the mystery of our origins. Yes, the picture needed a stronger spiritual side to remind us that these survivors are mere humans, and their struggle is momentous.
age 15+

Too intense for younger viwers

R: intense peril and a brief life/death situation

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (3 ):

With a refreshing lack of exposition or padding, this lean, minimalist survival thriller rises far above the genre's usual examples, with much credit going to the sturdy, determined lead performance. The feature debut of writer/director Joe Penna and co-writer Ryan Morrison, Arctic avoids a lot of the genre's unpleasant hand-wringing by skipping all the stuff that leads up to Overgård's situation. There's no plane crash and no information about who he is, how he got there, or who else might have been involved. It jumps right in to the bare essentials, the core of surviving.

It's somewhat comforting to follow a character like Overgård, who's already quite smart about what measures to take in order to survive. We're in good hands, and we don't have to wait for costly mistakes to be made. The screenplay is compact and briskly paced, with an interesting array of unexpected obstacles. The movie still has its woozy moments -- as when frostbite begins to set in -- but Mikkelsen, who's perhaps best known for playing bad guys in Casino Royale and Doctor Strange, as well as TV's Hannibal, is commanding and immensely appealing. All in all, Arctic should make most audiences break out in a cold sweat.

Movie Details

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