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The story starts with a dangerous journey on weak ice, undertaken nevertheless by Inuk's parents on their way to a hospital for urgent treatment. We see Inuk's father testing the ice before crossing dangerous areas, but gets drowned anyway in spite of his carefulness. We hear later on in the movie that the mother reached the hospital nevertheless, driven by sheer determination.
That positive side of the mother is not that prominent in subsequent scenes about 16 years later. She apparently cannot provide for a suitable income and a carefree home, and also entertains alcohol riddled parties at home. Inuk runs away from home after a heavy confrontation with one of the drunken friends of his mother. After some roving around he is picked up by the police. His mother is denied further care for her son, and Inuk is transferred to an orphanage in Northern Greenland because of his roots lying there.
In the course of an outdoors excursion, possibly to also educate the orphans on surviving in the hostile landscape around them, a journey over the icy landscape is undertaken under the guard of some experienced hunters. Very impressive are the stunning icescapes (you'll never get a chance to see this again), the dog sleds, their methods of coping with a hostile climate, and their immemorial traditions and working methods supporting survival on the long run. It all results very well in a takeaway experience, a welcome opportunity to watch all this from close by.
A few times there are pointers to the phenomenon of melting ice caps and its expected impact on hunters like we see in this part of Greenland. In other words, this film is not only a coming-of-age story for Inuk, but we touch a considerable change to Northern Greenland and its infrastructure too. It is not intended as global warming commentary, however, just a few side remarks to draw our attention to the obvious worries of the locals.
I'm not sure about the ending: was it a happy end, or something else?? The last 5 minutes fit the prologue where we saw Inuk's father drowning, and as such apparently intended to close the circle. But the accompanying story that was told to Inuk, seems a bit far fetched and too coincidental. Anyway, I cannot really care because it wraps up the film perfectly. The story itself is not that important, serving merely as a charming carrier for this compelling movie.
All in all, a well written script that is executed perfectly in spite of all the amateur actors involved, and all of that impressively visualized. This film ranked 14th for the audience award, with a good score of 4.38 out of 5. And last-but-not least there is an impressive soundtrack, well chosen at the right moments, but not outstaying its welcome at times when there was no need for it.
I was reminded a little of Danny Boyle's Oscar champ "Slumdog Millionaire," thanks to the frantic soundtrack and the youthful energy provided by a young cast of non-professional actors. While the story is neither as complex nor as contrived as Boyle's film, it maintains a simplistic charm which allows you to grow a bit closer to the both of the film's leads, Gaba Peterson (Inuk) and Ole Jørgen Hammeken (Ikuma).
Greenland's icy landscape is both chilling and mesmerizing. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult filming must have been for any crew members that were not from the area. Nonetheless, the film is shot and edited exceptionally; a fact that enough people agreed on to award it Best Narrative Feature, Best Director and Best Editing at the 2011 Savannah Film Festival. I was fortunate enough to see both Magidson and Hammeken say a few words about the film after it screened.
4 out of 5 stars.
Anderson: It also is a universal story of troubled people in dysfunctional broken families. It is a story of deep pain along with a hope for healing.
At the same time "Inuk" also gives us dazzling scenery with beautiful snow landscapes, awesome dog sled scenes and views of the far north cities of Greenland. I loved that.
Questad: The film starts out with sparse, poetic language that makes its story sound like a legend. "Outsiders are always surprised by the number of words we use for ice. But for us Inuit, ice is more than a word, it's our soul!"
We loved this movie.