Follow TV Tropes


Film / Arctic

Go To

Arctic is a 2018 survival film directed by Joe Penna in his directorial debut and starring Mads Mikkelsen. It premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival before being theatrically released on 1 February 2019.

A man named Overgård is stranded in the Arctic and sets out to return to civilization.

Arctic has examples of the following:

  • All There in the Script: Overgård's name is never said by anyone, due to the lack of dialogue. It appears in written form (when he tries to copy the woman's identification written in a script/language he doesn't understand, and when he finds his old ID card) and is also in the end credits of the film. We don't know what the "H" in his first name stands for.
  • Agony of the Feet: When Overgård falls into a crevasse, his leg gets trapped under a rock, and he's forced to break it several times while freeing it from the rock.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bears Are Bad News: While Overgård and the woman are resting in a small cave, the polar bear Overgård saw earlier tries to attack them, but Overgård fends it off with a flare.
  • Blood from the Mouth: After Overgård escapes from the crevasse and returns to the young woman, he finds some blood trickling from her mouth.
  • The Determinator: The story begins after Overgård has survived an untold number of days in the abysmal conditions of the Arctic. Even after breaking his leg to escape a cave-in, he ultimately fights to the very last to survive and deliver his would-be rescuer to safety.
  • Dying Alone: Much of Overgård's actions are driven to ensure this doesn't happen to the woman, as caring for her and taking her with him threatens his survival, yet he refuses to abandon her, except for a single moment of weakness, see Laser-Guided Karma below.) Tellingly, when he speaks what he thinks are his last words, it's to ensure the woman she is not alone.
  • Advertisement:
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Both Overgård and the woman survive and are rescued.
  • Feel No Pain: The woman doesn't respond when Overgård staples the wound in her stomach or applies alcohol to disinfect it an early sign that the crash has left her mostly paralyzed.
  • Fingore: Halfway through the film, it's revealed that Overgård's fingers have begun to suffer from frostbite.
  • Hope Spot:
    • When Overgård sees a helicopter in the beginning, he successfully gets its pilot's attention, and it looks as though he might be rescued. However, it crashes due to the bad weather and the pilot is killed, leaving only the female passenger alive.
    • Subverted at the end. When Overgård tries and fails to attract the attention of another nearby helicopter, he gives into despair and lays down to die with the woman. However, the film ends with the helicopter landing behind them.
  • Language Barrier: Played with. The woman seems like she might understand and even speak English (she initially speaks to Overgård in Thai when he first rescues her) but it's impossible to tell how much or how well given she is too weak to speak throughout the film.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: As soon as Overgård seems to have resolved himself to leave the woman behind to die, the ice immediately breaks under his feet and he falls into a cave, forcing him to break his own leg to escape.
  • Madness Mantra: Overgård's constant repetition of "It's okay" as the situation worsens.
  • Minimalist Cast: The film's cast consists of Overgård, the young woman, the helicopter pilot (who dies early in the film) and the two people in the helicopter at the end.
  • No Name Given: The young woman's name is never mentioned, and in the credits she's credited as "Young Woman". Her identification is present, but it's in the script of an Asian language (most likely Thai given the actress's mother in real life is from Thailand.)
  • Oh, Crap!: Upon noticing a bear footprint nearby, Overgård quickly enters the safety of the plane wreckage.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": When Overgård is forced to break his leg, a crunch can be heard, and he has to do it several times in order to free his foot.
  • Silence Is Golden: There's less than half a page of dialogue in the entire film, almost everything being communicated through the character's expressions.
  • The Speechless: The woman. Though she speaks a few words when Overgård first rescues her, it's barely audible and afterwards she's so weakened by her injuries and illness she never speaks again for the rest of the film, except for a single small, "Hello" near the end of the film.
  • You Are Not Alone: Said word for word by Overgård twice in the film, first when he returns to the woman after briefly abandoning her and again when he lies down beside her to die.