Urban Cinefile
"Normally, I'm a happy drunk, but I was a bit of a grumbly drunk this time and that's one thing I'm looking at."  -Paul Mercurio on a bad night during making Joseph
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday December 13, 2019 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Jack Tate (Michael Shanks) is a brilliant physicist specializing in Earth Sciences providing the land-based support for an American research vessel in the Antarctic Ocean. Complicating his life is a messy divorce from local medical examiner Emma (Alexandra Davies) and his strained relationship with teenage daughter Naomi (Indiana Evans). When Jack learns about the terrible deaths of his colleagues on the vessel in a sudden blast of sub-zero air, he discovers that a rip in the ozone layer has triggered a new ice age. But his boss Winslaw (Bruce Davison) at Philadelphia HQ, considering Jack's maverick past, refuses to contemplate Jack's solution. With parts of the South Pacific in deep freeze, the frigid air mass heads toward the west coast of the United States, flash freezing every living thing in its path. Jack is the planet's last chance. Meanwhile, his daughter Naomi has gone missing.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Arctic Blast is in some ways a blast from the past, a genre flick made by Aussie director Brian Trenchard-Smith who cut his cinematic teeth on exploitation films in the 70s. His film Turkey Shoot is a Quentin Tarantino favourite. But Arctic Blast is a much cooler movie in many respects, not least its higher technical standards, its larger scale, saving the planet and its topicality: climate. (And he's made many films since then.)

An ozone gash above the ocean south of Hobart is bringing a deep freeze to earth. Jack is working from the Hobart base of a research group, whose boat is the first casualty. The filmmakers aren't above a little subtle pun making; the organization is called ...International Climate Research Organisation; ICRO for short. (Pronounce the letters...)

But more importantly, the film grabs our attention with its mixture of domestic and climactic turbulence early on, setting up the anticipation for catastrophe to come and the attempt to tame it. Trenchard-Smith does orchestrated chaos well, and the sense of panic - crucial to conveying fear to the audience - is dynamic, and well served by Mario Sevigny's score. There are some nice touches (cinematically nice, that is) as the freeze hits Hobart and not everyone escapes. But Hobart is just the start: the ripple effect starts a chain reaction across the globe. And it's all our own fault, says Jack; we polluted the atomsphere.

All the cast deliver solid performances, from the youngsters like Indiana Evans through Michael Shanks as the key protagonist to veteran Bruce Davison as the main man at HQ, Robert Mammone as the supervisor at the emergency centre, and Alexandra Davies as Emma, Jack's wife.

More than just workmanlike, Arctic Blast makes use of contempo issues and turns them into edge-of-seat cinema.

Published February 2, 2011

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(Canada/Australia, 2010)

CAST: Michael Shanks, Alexandra Davies, Bruce Davison, Indiana Evans, Robert Mammone, Saskia Hempele, Judith Baribeau

PRODUCER: Gina Black, Stefan Wodoslawsky; Executive producer: Antony I. Ginnane

DIRECTOR: Brian Trenchard-Smith

SCRIPT: Jason Bourque


EDITOR: Robert E. Newton

MUSIC: Mario Sevigny


RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Anchor Bay Entertainment

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 2, 2011

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020