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VIFF review: The Expedition to the End of the World

The Expedition to the End of the World.

2 out of 4 stars

Title
The Expedition to the End of the World
Directed by
Daniel Dencik
Country
Denmark/Sweden
Language
English, Danish

This solemn movie is so packed with powerful imagery photographed with impressive panache that the sight of it all prompted me to dive into the Internet to figure out who shot this thing. For the record, the cinematography is credited to four people. They had abundant material to work with. Expedition follows a team of scientists, artists, geographers and other thinkers who take a three-masted schooner to explore the northeast coast of Greenland. It's a realm that could often pass for another planet were it not for the traces of both ancient and modern humanity they come across during their travels. The film is an assembly of stunning and peculiar moments that never really gel into something with momentum. Still, there's some good stuff such as a series of sequences in which the team, aboard their ship, spy a polar bear on a shore ravaging a storage building, scare away the bear with a signal flare, then venture ashore for a look at the damage the bear has done. Bottom line from the evidence: Never cross a polar bear. Still, there are too many just bizarre, baffling moments like the one where a character observes: "We will only rule for a short time and then it's back to the spiders. But the spiders don't write poems."

At VIFF: Oct. 7, 3:45 pm, Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts; Oct. 9, 7:15 pm, Rio

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