Against the Ice review: Mostly engrossing survival drama

Rating 3/5

‘Against the Ice’ revolves around the true story of two Danish explorers who set out to locate findings that prove Greenland was one, and not divided as the USA claimed. It is now streaming on Netflix.


Set in 1909, a crew of Danish explorers has set up a base in Greenland. The captain, Ejnar Mikkelsen (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) returns from an expedition for important findings, but his partner has suffered frostbite, leading to the decapitation of his toes by the crew.

With not enough evidence to prove that Greenland is one, Mikkelsen needs to embark on another expedition, but with his partner in no condition, he needs a new one.

None of them is exactly willing to accompany him, until the mechanic who recently joined them, Iver Iversen (Joe Cole), volunteers.

Despite initial hesitance from both the captain and the crew, Iversen is picked as his companion for the expedition.

The two set out on a journey to find evidence that could prove essential for their country, but get embroiled in a fight for survival.

What follows is whether their attempt to hold out and provide the essential findings is successful or the two succumb to the snow.


Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is terrific as the stoic captain obsessed with locating the findings of previous explorers. The role is tailor-made for him.

Joe Cole provides contrasting energy as his unlikely and slightly awkward partner for the expedition. Iversen has never been to the Arctic, and it’s quite obvious.

The two play off each other’s energy and their resonance is the highlight of the entire film as it’s largely carried by the pair, with no other character shown for long periods.


The entire narrative is intriguing. The story of these two explorers, who helped disprove the claims by Americans and helped Denmark assert command of Greenland, is exceptional and needed to be told.

The bond that Mikkelsen and Iversen form, despite being such polar opposites in nature, is completely convincing and never seems forced.

The shots of ice-filled lands are exquisite. The entire film is pleasing to the eye, made with minimal use of green screens. It’s mostly real ice and snow, though it’s shot in Iceland instead of Greenland.

Against the Ice provides numerous details in an organic manner, never making it too hard for the viewers to understand what’s happening, which is a surprisingly uncommon aspect.


While the first half of the film is engrossing, the narrative begins to linger at certain periods. After the two find the cairn, it all becomes a bit dull, until picking up again later on.

Despite being termed as a survival film, and featuring polar bear attacks, it never really reaches the stage where you actually fear for the two.


Against The Ice is a decent watch if you enjoy slow historical films. It never gets to the point of becoming tedious and narrates an exceptional story from history.

Also Read: Streaming Calendar: All shows and films coming out in 2022

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