Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Far North

Two films I've seen recently - one to recommend and one... not so much.

The bad news first. Tomorrow, the good. I rented Far North because it has Sean Bean and it was MCP's idea to trek through his movies, he of LOTR and Game of Thrones. (The former we are rewatching on the Extended Blu-Ray I got MCP for Xmas, the latter we both enjoyed - incidentally, he has read both the LOTR and GoT series, I have read neither.)

Far North is based on a 4-page short story by Sara Maitland. The setting is the Arctic tundra at an unspecified point in time, where two women survive the hostile environment totally alone because the older one believes she's cursed. She raised the younger one from a baby, after rescuing her from her slaughtered village. They find Sean Bean on the ice and nurse him back to health, and he falls for one of them, making the other jealous. We get a lot of fairly interesting anthropological stuff while waiting for something Big to happen. Then Far North goes south, or pear-shaped as the Brits would say, and we get a sort of magic-realism slasher ending. (Which justifies me filing this under SF movies.)

It didn't work for me. Maybe the (very) short story worked, because you have so little time to establish character that the reader can fill in the blanks appropriately. But in a movie, we get to see the characters in detail. The ending comes from left field, making no sense in light of what we've seen before.

Which goes to show that just because you have a picturesque location and some great actors, doesn't mean you can translate a thousand words of prose into anything meaningful even when you make it a hundred times longer.

Tomorrow: Cowboys and Aliens.

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