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Snow Walker

1 rating: 5.0
A movie

Barry Pepper and Annabella Piugattuk star in this epic story of friendship and survival in the Canadian Arctic. When a pilot named Charlie Halliday crashes his plane, he must learn to rely on the generosity and knowledge of his female Inuit passenger, … see full wiki

MPAA Rating: PG
1 review about Snow Walker

The Snow Walker - 2003

  • Jan 26, 2011
Rating:
+5
Pros: Pepper & first-timer Annabella Piugattuk, cinematography, music, well written script

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
'Who will smile with him when the photographs are yellow
And share his memories when they're flowers in the snow"
~Bill Staines

Director Charles Martin Smith adapted a screenplay from the short story "Walk Well, My Brother" by Farley Mowat and turned it into a very acceptable film, The Snow Walker.  It carries a PG rating for language, thematic elements, brief nudity [extremely brief], and some disturbing images [they state in the extras no live or stuffed animals were harmed in the filming].  It was nominated for a boatload of awards and won a sizable amount, justifiably so.

The Movie:
Charlie Halliday is a bush/tundra pilot; extremely cocky ans self-serving, we nevertheless like him immediately.  I suppose the main reason is because he seems so real, like the guy that would live next door and share his beer with you ... but never his last one.  He's the guy that has a gal in every port, with no real idea of commitment and certainly unable to live on his own.

He does work for a company but has a little 'business' on the side and it is during one of his side trips that he runs across three Inuits, two male and a sick, young, female.  After a bit of bartering, Charlie agrees to transport the young girl, Kanaalaq, back to Yellowknife for medical treatment.  Naturally, on the return trip the plane crashes and the two are left on the bleak tundra with winter quickly approaching.

So begins their long trek back to civilization and all the harrowing experiences one can expect in the Arctic outback during blizzard conditions.

The Actors:
It was necessary to find an actor to carry the part of Charlie Halliday and give us someone we could both find cold and unforgiving as well as lovable and full of charm.  Barry Pepper was the perfect choice because he has that playful boy about him but his appearance can often look cold and detached.

To offset his more worldly ways, a young and naive girl would be required.  Someone that would appear demure and unable to care for herself, yet possess the stamina the tundra required.  They chose 19 year old Annabella Piugattuk, an Inuit native, for this role.   She is one of the rare breed of young that still practices and believes the culture of her heritage and it didn't hurt she was fluent in the language.

Supporting roles went to James Cromwell as Charlie's stalwart boss that often overlooked his ways but had a great affection for him and Jon Gries, a coworker with a definitely nasty side.   There were others that played minor but significant parts in the movie and a good many Inuit natives, making their acting debuts.

Extras:
Interview with Barry Pepper, composer Mychael Danna, and cinematographer David Connell; an extensive and highly informative 'making of' feature that ran for a good hour.   Included on the extras is some delightful footage between C. M. Smith and Mowat, discussing the project in detail.

Overall:
This is one of those films you call beautiful.  Joint cinematographers David Connell, Jon Joffin, and Paul Sarossy wove a wonderful picture of the lightness and darkness of this wilderness.  This was overplayed by a very nice score by composer Mychael Danna.

With a location as severe as the Arctic, that is villain enough in this instance and while it may not have been necessary to create a villain; ie, Jon Gries, for the project, it also showed the difference between the light-hearted banter of Charlie as opposed to the darker side of Gries's character, Pierce. 

The location was brutual, and often perilous when polar bears wandered close, but it showed the dedication the actors and crew had to this wonderful project.    Some may find portions slow, which admittedly it was in the middle, but beyond that, well worth the time and effort to enjoy the film.

thanks,
Susi

This is an entry into the January Lean-n-Mean contest.

Recommended:
Yes

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January 27, 2011
nicely done, Susi!!
 
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