Against the Ice

Last updated

Against the Ice
Against the Ice.jpeg
Release poster
Directed by Peter Flinth
Screenplay by
Based on Two Against the Ice
by Ejnar Mikkelsen
Produced by Baltasar Kormákur
CinematographyTorben Forsberg
Edited byMorten Højbjerg
Music by Volker Bertelmann
Distributed by Netflix
Release dates
  • February 15, 2022 (2022-02-15)(Berlinale)
  • March 2, 2022 (2022-03-02)(Netflix)
  • Iceland
  • Denmark

Against the Ice is a 2022 historical survival film directed by Peter Flinth and written by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Joe Derrick, based on the true story recounted in Two Against the Ice by Ejnar Mikkelsen. It stars Coster-Waldau, Joe Cole, Charles Dance, and Heida Reed. The film was shot in Iceland and Greenland. Against the Ice premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival on February 15, 2022. [1] It was released on Netflix on March 2, 2022, and received mixed reviews from critics.



In 1909, Danish explorer Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen organizes an expedition to Shannon Island, East Greenland, from which he makes treks to recover the records of the ill-fated Denmark expedition. His first attempt is unsuccessful and a crewman loses toes to frostbite in the process, but on the trek Mikkelsen discovers a dead Denmark expedition member with a log and a map showing the location of a cairn built by his expedition. The only volunteer to accompany Mikkelsen on his second attempt is an inexperienced engineer named Iver Iversen, while the rest of the crew stays behind.

Mikkelsen and Iversen lose two of their sled dogs in their first few days and gradually sacrifice the remaining dogs to provide food to the teams that remain. Later, they fight and kill a polar bear. After three months the explorers locate the cairn, which contains records that disprove the existence of the Peary Channel, thus showing that Greenland is a single island and that the United States has no claim in the Arctic. On their way back, Mikkelsen fears that they may not survive, so they build another cairn about 200 miles from Shannon Island in which they deposit the records from the Denmark expedition. Mikkelsen and Iversen finally return to Shannon Island to learn the rest of the crew have returned home, leaving them stranded. They are forced to spend two winters in a cabin with food and supplies while their crewmates struggle to mount a rescue mission.

During their long isolation, the two men return to the cairn they built and retrieve the records. Meanwhile, their cabin is visited by would-be rescuers who find no sign of them. Later Mikkelsen hallucinates that his lover Naja Holm is with him, while Iversen imagines meeting his grandfather. Mikkelsen nearly kills Iversen with a rifle and the two men come very close to losing their sanity before being rescued in 1912. Their evidence from the Denmark expedition leads to American recognition of Greenland as a single island belonging to Denmark. An epilogue reveals that Mikkelsen married Naja a year later, that Iversen never set foot in the Arctic again, and that the two men remained friends for life.



The cast and crew at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival. Cast and crew of the movie Against the Ice-7341.jpg
The cast and crew at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival.

Against the Ice was a co-production between RVK Studios and Ill Kippers. It was directed by Danish director Peter Flinth, who worked with producer Baltasar Kormákur and cinematographer Torben Forsberg to shoot the film on location in Iceland and Greenland whilst using minimal green screens. The film is based on the Danish book Two Against the Ice by Ejnar Mikkelsen. On January 19, 2021, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Joe Cole, Charles Dance, and Heida Reed were confirmed to star. [2] Flinth said he cast Cole as inexperienced crew member Iver Iversen due to the actor's unfamiliarity with Greenland. According to Coster-Waldau, the crew was once stranded on a glacier in Iceland during a storm. The actor suffered a concussion while filming the bear-fighting scene, which was shot using computer-generated imagery (CGI) and a heavyweight judo champion as a stuntman. Flinth had originally wanted to film the scene using a real polar bear. [1]


Audience viewership

The film was watched for 30.73 million hours in its first five days, placing second on Netflix's top ten. [3] From March 7 to March 13, the film was watched for 12.73 million hours, finishing third on the charts. [4]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes , 57% of 35 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.1/10.The website's consensus reads, "Against the Ice isn't the most original or exciting wilderness thriller, but viewers in search of man-versus-nature entertainment could easily do worse." [5] Metacritic , which uses a weighted average , assigned the film a score of 49 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [6]

Though the performances and cinematography received some praise, critics generally criticized the runtime, characters, dialogue, score, and historical accuracy. The Hollywood Reporter 's David Rooney writes, "In the end, the most remarkable thing about Against the Ice is that a real-life story of two men at the mercy of the unforgiving elements, of hunger and illness, possible attack and encroaching madness, can be so curiously deprived of tension." [7] [8] The Times ' Ed Potton praised Coster-Waldau's performance. [9]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen</span> Danish author, ethnologist, and explorer

Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen was a Danish author, ethnologist, and explorer, from Ringkøbing. He was most notably an explorer of Greenland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uummannaq</span> Place in Greenland, Kingdom of Denmark

Uummannaq is a town in the Avannaata municipality, in central-western Greenland. With 1,407 inhabitants in 2020, it is the eighth-largest town in Greenland, and is home to the country's most northerly ferry terminal. Founded in 1763 as Omenak, the town is a hunting and fishing base, with a canning factory and a marble quarry. In 1932, the Universal Greenland-Filmexpedition with director Arnold Fanck released the film S.O.S. Eisberg near Uummannaq.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nikolaj Coster-Waldau</span> Danish actor and screenwriter

Nikolaj William Coster-Waldau is a Danish actor and producer. He graduated from the Danish National School of Performing Arts in Copenhagen in 1993, and had his breakthrough role in Denmark with the film Nightwatch (1994). He played Jaime Lannister in the HBO fantasy drama series Game of Thrones, for which he received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Mikkelsen Bay is a bay, 27.8 kilometres (15 nmi) wide at its mouth and indenting 18.5 kilometres (10 nmi), entered between Bertrand Ice Piedmont and Cape Berteaux along the west coast of Graham Land, Antarctica. First seen from a distance in 1909 by the French Antarctic Expedition under Jean-Baptiste Charcot, but not recognized as a large bay. First surveyed in 1936 by the BGLE under Rymill, and resurveyed by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey in 1948–49. The name was proposed by members of BGLE for Ejnar Mikkelsen, Danish Arctic explorer and Inspector for East Greenland, 1934–50.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ejnar Mikkelsen</span> Danish polar explorer (born 1880)

Ejnar Mikkelsen was a Danish polar explorer and writer. He is most known for his expeditions to Greenland.

The Danish National School of Performing Arts is an artistic educational institution governed by the Danish Ministry of Culture. The school offers higher education and continuing education within performing arts. Based in Denmark, the school has campuses in Aarhus, Fredericia, Copenhagen and Odense.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Flinth</span> Danish film director

Peter Flinth is a Danish film director.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nukâka Coster-Waldau</span> Greenlandic singer and actress

Nukâka Coster-Waldau, better known professionally as Nukâka, is a Greenlandic singer, actress, and a former Miss Greenland. She is married to Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and has two daughters with him.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Georg Carl Amdrup</span>

Vice Admiral Sir Georg Carl Amdrup, RN was a Danish naval officer, Vice Admiral and Greenland researcher.

The Robert Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role is a Danish Film Academy award presented at the annual Robert Award ceremony to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a Danish film.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joe Cole (actor)</span> English actor (born 1988)

Joseph Michael Cole is an English actor from Kingston, London. Some of his most notable roles include: Luke in Skins, Tommy in Offender, John Shelby in Peaky Blinders, Marzin and Beckwith in Secret in Their Eyes, Reece in Green Room, Billy Moore in A Prayer Before Dawn, Frank in the Black Mirror episode "Hang the DJ", Sean Wallace in Gangs of London and Iver Iversen in Against the Ice.

<i>Shot Caller</i> (film) 2017 film directed by Ric Roman Waugh

Shot Caller is a 2017 American crime thriller film written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The film chronicles the transformation of a well-to-do family man, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, into a hardened prison gangster, which he undergoes to survive California's penal system after he is incarcerated for his role in a deadly DUI car accident. The film also stars Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Emory Cohen, Jeffrey Donovan, Evan Jones, Benjamin Bratt, and Holt McCallany.

Miss Greenland is a national beauty pageant in Greenland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hovgaard Island (Greenland)</span>

Hovgaard Island is a large uninhabited island of the Greenland Sea, Greenland. The island was named after Andreas Hovgaard, a Polar explorer and officer of the Danish Navy who led an expedition to the Kara Sea on steamship Dijmphna in 1882–83.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Macon Blair</span> American film actor, line producer and screenwriter

Macon Blair is an American actor, screenwriter, director, film producer, and comic book writer known for his roles in the films Blue Ruin and Green Room, as well as his directorial debut I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

<i>Small Crimes</i> 2017 American film

Small Crimes is a 2017 American crime film directed by E. L. Katz from a screenplay by Katz and Macon Blair, based on the novel of the same name by Dave Zeltserman. The film stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Joe Denton, a former cop recently released from prison for attempted murder. The film also stars Gary Cole, Molly Parker, Macon Blair, Pat Healy, Jacki Weaver, and Robert Forster. Small Crimes premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2017, and was released by Netflix on April 28, 2017.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Niels Peter Høeg Hagen</span>

Niels Peter Høeg Hagen was a Danish military officer, polar explorer and cartographer. He participated and perished in the ill-fated Denmark expedition to NE Greenland in 1906.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peary Channel (Greenland)</span>

The Peary Channel was a hypothetical sound or marine channel running from east to west separating Peary Land in northernmost Greenland from the mainland further south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alabama Nunatak</span>

Alabama Nunatak is a nunatak in the King Frederick VIII Land area of northeastern Greenland. Administratively it is part of the Northeast Greenland National Park zone.

<i>Two Against the Ice</i> Arctic expedition book

Two Against the Ice is a non-fiction book authored by Danish explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen. The book details the author's exploration into Greenland, a journey made with his compatriot Iver P. Iversen in 1910. The book was originally published in Danish (1955) and later translated into English by Maurice Michael.


  1. 1 2 Grater, Tom (February 14, 2022). "Against The Ice Stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Joe Cole & Director Peter Flinth Talk Snowstorms & Concussions While Filming Survival Drama – Berlin". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  2. Grater, Tom (January 19, 2021). "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau & Joe Cole Starring In Netflix Movie Against The Ice, Baltasar Kormákur Producing". Deadline Hollywood . Archived from the original on January 19, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  3. "Top 10 Films (English): February 28 – March 6, 2022". Netflix . Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  4. "Top 10 Films (English): March 7 – March 13, 2022". Netflix . Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  5. "Against the Ice". Rotten Tomatoes . Fandango Media . Retrieved May 3, 2022. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  6. "Against the Ice". Metacritic . Fandom, Inc. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  7. Rooney, David (February 15, 2022). "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Netflix's Against the Ice: Film Review | Berlin 2022". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  8. Kiang, Jessica (February 15, 2022). "Against the Ice Review: A Good-Looking but Glacial Trudge Through a Snowbound True Story". Variety . Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  9. Potton, Ed (February 15, 2022). "Against the Ice review — Game of Thrones star shows his range in this arctic adventure" . The Times . Retrieved February 15, 2022.