This fact based drama chronicles the last journey of Willem Barentsz and Jacob van Heemskerk on their search for a new passage to the Indies. Due to icy waters, they are stranded on the island of Novaya Zemlya and have to spend the winter there. The story is told through the eyes of Gerrit de Veer, an officer on the same voyage, and is loosely based on the famous diary he published in 1598 after his safe return.Written by
There are a lot of things that can be said about this (typically Dutch) movie. Without a doubt, the adventures of Willem Barentz during his third voyage to find a way around "the North" and his stay on Nova Zembla merited an epic movie.
Even though Reinout Oerlemans is a very inexperienced director the quality of the production is mostly "acceptable". Great camera-work in general and pretty decent acting.
The biggest problem with the movie, however, is the script.
It deviates from what really happened in so many places it defies belief. Why Reinout Oerlemans and Hugo Heinen would have strayed so far from the truth is difficult to understand as much of the real story would have added to the tension.
They completely missed the reason for Barentz to become stuck in the ice contrary to his previous two attempts in sailing through the arctic, for instance. There are many more examples of "truth is stranger than fiction" to be found in this movie.
In the end the movie is dull and not very engaging. Constantly giving the viewer the sense of missed opportunities by the script.
The true story of Willem Barentz' voyage could easily have beaten "Titanic" in terms of suspense and majesty. Instead, this attempt can only be called a mediocre, unnecessary and (in places) simpleminded distortion of reality.
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