Under an Arctic Sky (2017)

This is not a surf movie. Well, it kinda is, there are waves and they do get surfed. But that’s not really what this movie is about…


This movie is more about doing something beyond convention, erasing the imaginary  boundaries that we’ve created for ourselves and doing something remarkable. All done in sublime style with the most amazing backdrop imaginable. The real star of this movie, and apologies to Chris Burkard and his motley crew, is Iceland.

Iceland is stupefyingly gorgeous. My wife and I went there on our honeymoon. It like no place I’ve ever been to before. It’s all rocks and moss and lichen and rivers and glaciers. Its haunting and beautiful. I could live there, and I don’t say that lightly. Íslendingar are also the best sort. They are such awesome people. If you ever get the chance, go there! You will not regret it.

Having said all that I don’t mean to take away from the human cast and their adventurous accomplishments. I do wish that the movie was a bit longer so we get to know them all a bit better. They all seem so interesting. Chris Burkard, director and chief instigator, has a really good eye. His shots are always beautifully framed and you really get the sense that you’re watching something artisanal and well crafted. I have skill envy. And maybe also life envy.

The movie also has a very tactile element to it. Watching it makes you really feel the cold. Which I thought was interesting. Made me want don my wetsuit… and then pee in it. Likely an effect of the great cinematography, or maybe just a deep rooted phobia that trudging through knee deep snow may cause my toes to blacken and slough off. There are not many movies that can make me feel like that, so kudos to you.

What I really like about this movie is that these guys managed to created something beautiful and got to experience something truly profound. They were brave and dared greatly. Well done guys, great movie.


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