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Against the Ice Review : Solid Survival Drama

Featuring “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau


What happens when Jamie Lannister and John Shelby get lost in the wilderness deep into Greenland? You get a solid historical survival drama that you can stream on Netflix! Peter Flinth’s new film, Against the Ice, focuses on the true story of the adventures of Ejnar Mikkelen and Iver Iversen. The screenplay for the film is based on the memoirs of Mikkelsen and is a passion project of co writer and star, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. I told you Jamie Lannister was in it. Then you also have Peaky Blinders alum Joe Cole who stars as Iversen.

What does Flinth offer up in this new survival thriller? Overall, this is a well-made film. There is solid tension. The visuals are well done enough to have the audience feel lost in this icy and treacherous world. The pacing is okay (not exactly exciting and neck break but not quite boring and slow either). This is a rock-solid effort from the Danish director. 

Does Coster-Waldau’s screenplay offer up anything interesting when it comes to this fact-based narrative? If you have seen films like The Revenant, you have seen something a little more ambitious, intense, and artful than this one. There are set pieces that offer up something interesting. You have bear attacks, feeding dogs to the rest of them, and some treacherous falls off cliffs. Yeah…this film does keep things interesting! This is all about the survival and intensity of the situations. There are some other elements thrown in (like a romantic subplot for Mikkelsen) but they mostly feel flat. 

What stands out in this by-the-numbers period thriller? The performances. Coster-Waldau and Cole really sell this film to the best of their abilities. There is a reason that Jamie Lannister became such a standout character on Game of Thrones. Coster-Waldau offers up presence, charisma, and intensity. As the fearless leader of this venture, he excels. Then you have Cole who is the perfect anchor for the audience to experience this crazy venture into the unknown. Throw in a dash of Charles Dance in some of the back home scenes and you have some great acting work in this film. 

Is Against the Ice going to blow you away? Not quite. In many ways, this is a standard type of film that falls comfortably into its expectations. What does push those expectations along are the performances. You can tell this was a passion project for Coster-Waldau and is worth the stream just for him (and Cole as well).

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