The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition

"Very Good"

The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition Review


Based on the book by Caroline Alexander, George Butler's documentary The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition assembles a story of the polar expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, a family man who perhaps was more of an adventurer than he was a scientist. His attempt to cross the South Pole from sea to sea became famous not for its scientific discovery -- the South Pole had already been discovered -- but for the above-human stoicism of the crew and Shackleton's incredible leadership abilities.

When Shackleton placed an ad in the paper to recruit 27 men for his crew, he straightforwardly listed what was to be expected from the voyage: bitter cold, constant danger, and no guarantee of return. 5,000 men, from all possible backgrounds and upbringings, responded, hungry for adventure and glory -- an example of how people can be so fatally attracted to the unknown. The preparations were completed by the start of World War I, when Winston Churchill, ambivalent about the use of another trip to the Antarctica, nevertheless declined Shackleton's offer to donate his ship Endurance to the Admiralty, sending the crew on their way.

Director George Butler utilizes a wide range of research and innovation in capturing the adventure: still photographs and the actual film footage shot en route, rare data available to descendants of the survivors, private diaries, and modern historical analysis of the journey. Narrated by the impartial voice of Liam Neeson, we get a chronological account of Shackleton's incredible journey. Blazing a new path to the South Pole through the Weddell Sea, Shackleton was hoping to take a full advantage of the Antarctic summer. But soon, Endurance became surrounded by pack ice that made it nearly impossible to push through. After crawling for days, ice finally sealed the ship in place, marooning the crew in the middle of the sea for seven months. To keep the spirits up, they amused each other with theatrical and musical evenings.

The film captures superbly the agony of waiting: the solemn musical score enhances the effects of 28 men trying to break the ice with shovels and picks before eventually abandoning the ship and eventually the mission altogether. With the South Pole unattainable, Shackleton's new goal became survival. What happened then was due to Shackleton's incredible leadership and strategic abilities and made the Endurance expedition one of the most incredible testimonies of the power of the human spirit and a legendary adventure of its era.

As with most great discoveries or achievements, Shackleton's return, after almost two years at sea, wasn't immediately recognized or celebrated -- it was far from glorious. On one hand, the film tells a story that is so gripping and full of unexpected turns it makes one rush to track it on a map. On the other hand, however, pockets of silence and an often sluggish rhythm take away from that suspense, diluting the energy of what otherwise would have been quite a great film.

Into the ice.



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $2.5M

Production compaines: Discovery Channel Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as voice, as Hubert Hudson (voice), as Frank Wild (voice) (as Brian Darcy James), Julian Ayer as Himself (Grandson of expedition member)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.