Friday, April 17, 2020

Review: Alone Across The Arctic

Release date: April 6, 2020
Running time: 86 minutes
Starring: Adam Shoalts

Alone Across the Arctic is the documentary created by and starring Adam Shoalts as he embarks on a 4000 km journey across Canada's arctic, hoping to be the first person in recorded history to accomplish this task alone.  Shoalts is an experienced explorer and has done countless treks throughout the wilderness, but this one promises to be his longest and most intense one yet.  He prepares as best he can but there is only so much one can do when going through uncharted wilderness.

As you would expect from a movie like this, there is some absolutely beautiful nature scenery.  Canada's arctic is lush and green, leading to some wonderful landscapes as Shoalts explores this vast area.  And Shoalts, as an experienced explorer, provides a lot of commentary on his experiences, observations about the tundra and landscape, and survival hints.  Some of these are really interesting, like how he repaired holes in his equipment or certain historical sites he visited along the way.  And the journey itself is very impressive, with a vast distance that Shoalts covers, often having to backtrack to bring all his required gear.

However, Alone Across the Arctic has a few issues that, although an amazing accomplishment, lead it to be an average movie.  For one, Shoalts is an accomplished explorer but he is not a great journey host.  He definitely provides some interesting insights and tips, but overall a lot of his conversation during the film falls flat.  Which leads to a relatively compact documentary actually feeling longer than it was.  And, probably because of the limited camera time and battery issues, a lot of the footage comes in just snippets here and there.  Sometimes it appears to be the same day, but other times it could be clips from various parts of the journey stitched together.  It leads to some very scattershot sets that don't always tie together. Again, this might just be the limitations of having a single person with one camera on limited batteries, but it means that there were times that I found the sequence tough to follow or to not have enough meat on it.  And finally, maybe because Shoalts is such an experienced explorer, he doesn't show a ton of emotion even during set backs.  So it leads to the overall journey not feeling very dire, despite there being some very real problems that occurred during it.  Shoalts has a calm persona, which is an asset for a wilderness explorer, but leads again to a documentary that doesn't have a ton of emotion.  That being said, for wilderness lovers, this film is a treat. 

Alone Across The Arctic documents an impressive expedition, the longest solo #Canadian expedition in recent memory, and should provide nature buffs an interesting and insightful trip.

Rent it.

No comments:

Post a Comment