August 22, 2007

"Arctic Son" isn't expressive

Television Review | 'Arctic Son'

Learning the Simple Life With Stanley of the North[T]hese aren’t the most expressive of individuals. The director, Andrew Walton, chooses not to use narration, and neither man is very talkative. There are long pauses between statements, little extended dialogue and a tension that never really fades.

Almost reluctantly, Stan Jr. begins to enjoy learning at least some lessons in the old ways: how to harness a team of sled dogs, set a snare for a rabbit and unfurl a net under the ice when fishing in winter. When he catches a rabbit, he is clearly proud.

Stan Sr. is trying to help his son, but is also recruiting him. “It’s a good life,” the father says, “a simple life.” And speaking of his son, “It’s a better life for him, to live here.”

Stan Jr. returns to Seattle, though the wilderness and its creed of self-reliance have bitten him and his old life of drinking and partying holds a shade less appeal. It’s not clear what his decision will be, but he does make his way north again by the end of the film.

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