Amundsen (2019)

Amundsen (2019)

Movie Details

Movie: Amundsen (2019)
Director: Espen Sandberg
Cast: Pål Sverre Hagen, Christian Rubeck, and Katherine Waterston
Movie Genres: Adventure/Thriller
Release date: 26 December 2019
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Languages: Norwegian and English
Duration: 2h 05m


Amundsen (2019)


Norwegian director Joachim Rønning built a solid reputation with the Oscar-nominated drama Kon-Tiki, in which a group of explorers build a raft and attempt to cross from South America to Polynesia. It was here that they showed their understanding of cinematic storytelling, tricks, and a flair for adventure stories. Their five Pirates of the Caribbean were also successful, but in 2019 they parted ways. And it was probably a mistake.

Joachim Rønning made the effective, if otherwise mediocre fantasy sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and his partner Espen Sandberg now comes with Amundsen. The latter is considerably more serious, cheaper, and probably more ambitious than the work of his former colleague, unfortunately in the end it is a similarly lackluster affair. Amundsen is, of course, the story of probably the most famous polar explorer and conqueror of icy deserts, who led the first successful expedition to the South Pole and successfully sailed the Northwest Passage around North America. However, he was able to do all this at the cost of huge personal sacrifices because his passion for discovery almost destroyed his relationships with his colleagues and family.

Amundsen was not exactly a likable gentleman, and this is the main problem of his film biography as well. The famous polar explorer loved winter and ice, perhaps because he was not one of the warmest people in the world, and the film depicts him as an ambitious, proud, but cold person who approaches his tasks and, unfortunately, relationships with pure pragmatism. Amundsen is more machine than man. It’s hard to tell what’s going on behind his disinterested expression. I have no reason to think that it should be any different with this discoverer, but on the other hand, the creators must have realized that it would be difficult to build a relationship with someone like that, whether positive or negative. As a result, his film story is as cold as he is.

In short, Espen Sandberg forces you to spend two hours in the cinema with someone who made history but was not a very interesting person himself. That is, maybe he was, unless we count absolute obsession and the desire to prove crazy things, we won’t learn anything very interesting about him. I understand that this was also supposed to be one of the themes of the whole Amudsen, that he was inaccessible and that not even his brother or his fateful wife knew everything about him, but ask yourself if this is enough for a two-hour movie.

She is quite bored with Amundsen. Sandberg focuses more on the hero himself, who remains annoyingly measured until the closing credits. His journeys of discovery, or rather his adventures, are somewhat pushed into the background here. It will freeze, because Sandberg manages to narrate all the journeys into the realm of ice and minus temperatures in a very imaginative and visually attractive way. So it’s quite a shame that he chose to tell the story about himself rather than Amundsen’s actions. Because he is not very interesting. After Kon-Tiki, I expected a more exciting, interesting, and, after all, entertaining spectacle.

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