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1953. Charlie Halliday, a former WWII fighter pilot, is a Yellowknife-based bush pilot. Like many of the white in the area, he does not associate with the Inuit except for what he can get out of them in bartering. On a personal plane trip, he runs across a small family of nomadic Inuit. The female of the group, named Kanaalaq, has what Charlie suspects is tuberculosis. In exchange for some ivory, Charlie agrees to fly her to a hospital in Yellowknife. En route back to the city, Charlie is forced to make a crash landing when the plane develops mechanical problems. Although both Charlie and Kanaalaq are unharmed by the crash, the plane is totaled, they are in the middle of nowhere, the radio doesn't seem to be working, they have a meager amount of supplies, and Charlie's whereabouts are probably unknown to others since he made a detour from his original route. Furthermore, they can't communicate with each other as Kanaalaq only knows a few words of English, whereas Charlie knows no ... Written by
We meet Charlie Halliday, a young bush pilot, as he and his friends are spending a night of drinking and just having fun. Halliday, and his friends, are mean toward one Inuit man that comes to the tavern trying to sell them a little animal skin. Little prepares this young man for what happens to him the following day.
Director Charles Martin Smith does wonders in this movie. The action takes us all over the Canadian arctic tundra. The director, and his cinematographers, captured in all its glory this part of the vast country most of us will never see. This movie celebrates the human instinct of survival and deals with how Halliday, a man who clearly shows his disdain toward the Inuit, at the beginning of the film, has to depend on a young girl that shows him a thing or two about how to survive in that hostile climate.
Barry Pepper surprises us in the film in the way he portrays Halliday. We see the transformation, for the better, as he realizes how his salvation depends on Kanaalaq. Annabella Pingattuk, who plays the young Inuit girl is an asset in the film. James Cromwell is seen as Shepherd, the man in charge of the pilots.
"The Snow Walker" shows a lesson in acceptance, and endurance when all hope is lost by a person. Thanks to Charles Martin Smith and his collaborators for a satisfying film.
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