Indie Gems with Nate: The Snow Walker 

The Snow Walker is as bleak and tragic as they come, attempting to find scant traces of beauty, kinship and compassion  amidst a hopeless tale unfolding on the edge of the world. Charlie (Barry Pepper) is an ex WWII pilot who has flown a lot of missions, but none quite like the one he embarks on here. On a remote plane trip in the Arctic, he comes across a nomadic family of Inuits who are in desperate need of help. One among them, a girl named Kanaalaq (Annabella Piugattuk, fantastic), is sick with what appears to be tuberculosis, and will die if not treated soon. Charlie agrees to fly her back to civilization in exchange for a few wares, but during the voyage his plane develops mechanical problems and he is forced to make a crash landing in the middle of the wilderness. Stranded with little food, a sick girl and no hope of rescue, he and Anaalaq are brutalized by the incoming winter, tested beyond the limits of endurance by the harsh terrain around them and pushed to the point of despair. Charlie’s old friend (a sincere James Cromwell) sends a cocky bush pilot (Jon Gries) in hopes of locating him, but because Charlie took a detour end route, it’s worse than finding a needle in a haystack. There’s a mournfully poetic sense to the landscape around them, a dry and unforgiving vista that is shutting down as winter looms on te horizon, indifferent to the two of them, clinging to survival. Charlie is a loner, an outsider, and this situation tests his interpersonal skills as well as his stamina. Anaalaq speaks little to no English, and he not a word of Inuktituk, forcing deeper methods of communication and a trust in each other, warm compassion to ward off the cold anguish threatening their existence. This is not a Hollywood film (except for a random cameo from Michael Bublé, of all people), and as such is never predictable, easy or familiar. It walks it’s own road, a road into utter hopelessness. Watch something lighthearted after, your emotions will need the counterweight. 

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