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The true story of the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his ill-fated expedition to try to be the first man to discover the South Pole - only to find that the murderously cold weather and a rival team of Norwegian explorers conspire against him Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
A Moving but Distorted Account of Scott's Disaster
The first thing to remember is that Scott fouled up mightily in his attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole in 1912. He was stubborn, rather arrogant, yet malleable to the wishes of his wife. When his diaries were found on his frozen remains they were in fact later edited and altered by his wife (and the publisher) to depict Scott as a Great Heroic Figure. That was a lie; the depiction of him in the movie is a lie. And in recent years the unedited diaries were released proving the old myth was not the reality. It should be added the U.S. polar explorer Richard C. Byrd was an even bigger fraud - as his recently released personal notes also demonstrated.
This film is generally well done, and the Antarctic (actually Greenland, I believe) scenery is spectacular. The very slow deterioration of Scott's team is fascinating to see; their heartbreak upon viewing Raoul Amundsen's Norwegian flag flying over the Pole in the distance
meaning they had lost the race to the greatest of all explorers - is
palpable. From then on it becomes a matter of survival and getting back home. Bit by bit the elements wear them down - untill they can finally go on no longer. When one says "I don't want to wake up tomorrow" with the wind howling just outside their little tent as they try to eat a morsel of cold food. . . you know it's over for them. Heartbreaking.
BUT THE CAUSE OF THE DISASTER IS NOT DELINEATED!! WHY did it happen? Bad luck? Scott's decision not to rely only on sled dogs? Yes. But his planning and leadership was also flawed badly - and that was not shown, as mentioned above.
I had no particular problem with the acting. It could possibly have been more emphatic and emotive, but then I assume the English were indeed as stoic as depicted in the film. Mills' understated Scott is to be expected as part of the MYTHICAL version of Scott
the REAL Scott I have no doubt was more emotional and weaker, as seen in
the uneditied diary.
All in all, a moving film worth seeing - so long as you know this is not the reality of the Scott expedition but the cleansed version to make Scott and company as heroic as possible. If you want a better Arctic film try "The Red Tent", and check the reviews on the IMDb for background on it.
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