The American oil company KIC Corporation is building an ice road to explore the remote Northern Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seeking energy independence. Independent environmentalists ... See full summary »
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Erik Per Sullivan
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The American oil company KIC Corporation is building an ice road to explore the remote Northern Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seeking energy independence. Independent environmentalists work together in a drilling base headed by the tough Ed Pollack in a sort of agreement with the government, approving procedures and sending reports of the operation. When one insane team member is found dead naked on the snow, the environmentalist James Hoffman suspects that sour gases may have been accidentally released in the spot provoking hallucinations and insanity in the group. After a second fatal incident, he convinces Ed to travel with the team to a hospital for examination. However, weird events happen trapping the group in the base. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In scene where Maxwell visits KIK Test well, his gloves are on and off during the scenes. See more »
Alaska. Vast wilderness of the north. Land of great natural beauty and diversity. This is rugged county, land of black gold. Alaska's North Slope has been producing oil out of Prudhoe Bay since 1968, delivering to refineries and ports 800 miles to the south through the great Trans-Alaskan pipeline. But another northern region known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has remained untapped. Only once have prospectors gained access to this barren landscape. In 1986, KIK ...
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Larry Fessenden's "The Last Winter" is a ambitious and smartly made film. It's photographed beautifully and (by and large) acted with conviction and sensitivity. Though the central conceit about nature "taking revenge" is pretty corny, the atmosphere is also pretty compellingly bleak, and the tension mounts pretty effectively as things go from bad to worse. Sadly, as many other reviewers note, the ending throws it all away in a fit of awful CG monsters.
However, try turning it off right at one hour 27 minutes and 30 seconds. This would have been a solid albeit ambiguous ending; if you must watch further do it on a second viewing and consider it a deleted ending. It's just goofy and pointless, and the final "twist" at the end is telegraphed almost from the very beginning (in fact, one character early on describes aloud exactly what the twist will end up being).
Even without the ending, the script has problems with its petty black-and-white portrayal of heroic environmentalist and selfish oil guy. An ensemble atmosphere pic like this lives and dies on the believability of its characters; Perlman's Ed Pollock is simply too villainous to really be convincing, despite a few nice touches of humanity which Perlman brings to him. Le Gros' Hoffman is also a pretty unengaging hero, a blandly heroic saint of a guy who's always right about everything. I'm a serious environmentalist and a left-leaning guy, but the film's literal take on the situation (the dire warnings of natural disaster, the clear heroes and villains) is shallow at best and preachy and patronizing at the worst. It plays to the most obnoxiously self-congratulatory nature of people concerned with the issues presented here, while at the same time offering nothing of any real substance.
Still, the film itself is a pretty fun watch, and a definite step up from Fessenden's previous effort, the ambitious but amateurish "Wendigo" (the titular spirit of which gets name-checked here too!). Great photography combined with naturalistic acting from the likes of Kevin Corrigan and Zach Gilford do much to sell the vibe of the thing, and the setting and slow escalation of the action also add to the experience. Regardless of its stumbles, the film has loads of ambition to do something substantial and enduring, so even when it can't quite deliver on its promise it still beats the slew of cheap-scare horror remakes which every year become more numerous.
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