The Snow Walker Movie Review

A little The Edge, a little Dances with Wolves, this adventure oddity is surprisingly watchable while featuring two stars who never learn to fully communicate.

Barry Pepper is a bush pilot named Charlie Halliday who takes ill Inuit woman Kanaalaq (Annabella Piugattuk) on a routine flight, only to have it go down in the remote wilderness of the tundra. (Lucky for them it's summertime.) The survive the crash, but Kanaalaq is too sick to walk for help, so Charlie heads out on his own. He gets lost (and attacked by bees), but Kanaalaq has secretly tracked him, and she nurses him back to health. Eventually they try to trek back to the plane (which no one has found, weeks later), and from there they finally opt to try to trek back to civilization after Kanaalaq has taught Charlie extensive survival skills.

Based loosely on a true story, much of the film consists of their attempts to communicate, plus basic survival activities set against the stark and hauntingly beautiful landscape. This is unfortunately interrupted by flashbacks to Charlie's days as a fighter pilot as well as asides with the folks back home (including James Cromwell), who conjecture endlessly about whatever might have happened to their buddy. All of these asides come off as padding, adding half an hour to vault the film up to a respectable 90 minutes. Frankly I would have preferred the 60-minute, streamlined version.

But still, Pepper is amazingly engaging here, despite his character's tendency to whine, and Piugattuk is a real discovery, even sans English. Give it a whirl after you turn up the heat.

Comments

The Snow Walker Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG, 2003

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