Against the Ice: A true man vs. the elements story
Against the Ice Review
Against the Ice is a captivating, based-on-a-true story movie that manages to pack more into 1:42 than most Netflix movies do in 2 hours. The scenery is beautiful, but the filmmakers don’t forget to display the brutally of the Arctic Circle
What is Against the Ice about?
Against the Ice is a true story based on the book written (I’ll link to it below) by Ejnar Mikkelsen, our main character. The movie details his journey across Greenland, accompanied by Iver Iverson, that is an incredible name. Our story is set in 1909, when Denmark and the USA had a minor disagreement about who owned which part of the land. Einar and Iver volunteer to leave the safety of their frozen ship to go explore the Arctic and find missing information that would give Denmark full ownership of Greenland.
I loved this movie. Against the Ice has a really interesting dynamic, with virtually only two characters. Einar Mikkelsen, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Iver Iverson, Joe Cole, are both drastically different people, and they really don’t get along for most of this movie. This is another vet and rookie type of a movie, with Iver having no Arctic experience before this journey. This lack of experience is what makes him a really likeable character. He’s a great human being that just lacks the specific experience that Einar is looking for. This is also why Einar struggles to stay pissed off at the young fellow. The emotional highs and lows our characters feel are perfectly represented by our writers, and it made me feel like I was watching the story unfold from the Arctic, instead of buried under a blanket and hoodie.
The story is compelling and more emotional than I had expected. Anything set in the 1900s holds a special place in my heart, and this is no different. The scenery was spectacular, from the blowing snow on the ice sheets, to the running streams in warmer areas of the country. The filmmakers did a wonderful job of displaying Greenland in all of its beauty, while staying true to the dangers Iver and Einar went through.
The story is solid, although I thought it was a little bit surprising the way it develops. I thought the story behind finding the information and returning to the camp would have taken a lot more time, but I loved that there was more to the story. It gave a plot twist mid-movie and totally changed the tone. For an hour and 45 ish minute movie, this feels like a ton of content. We really get two stories packed into one here, but they mesh together to flow well. Every time Against the Ice started to find a lull, something would happen to draw my attention back. The polar bear attack was both shocking and thrilling, and brought some action to a movie that really relied on drama and suspense to be entertaining. With the premise of their journey being that the Americans are also trying to claim parts of Greenland, it is really fun to never quite know whose out there. In the frozen tundra, the odds of finding anyone was beyond low, but every time something would go wrong that was where my mind went.
Against the Ice really brought a true story to life and although it took place in 1909, I felt like I lived that journey. The scenery and camera work is amazing, and it gave the feel of a documentary instead of a based on true story movie. Netflix has gotten some true stories horribly wrong, Rose Island cough cough, but this is just as captivating as the original story.