Thursday, September 30, 2010

Frozen (2010)


Three skiers seeking one last run down the mountain accidentally get stuck, and left, on the ski lift just before a storm comes in.  Contending with a huge drop, hungry wolves, no food, and days getting ever colder, the three must find a way to get out before any of them take its toll.


Following the typical brief setup of characters leading into the claustrophobic situation (I wonder if this year can be dubbed Claustromania?), Frozen follows the downhill spiral of three individuals trying to survive a harsh cold winter. Taking all the time necessary to explain our regular conveniences (cell phones, and the like) away, Frozen is quick to get into the meat of its story, and quick to push its characters to the edge.

Balancing the claustrophobic environment, which is likely the key selling point to many, with the fears that come with such a scenario, Frozen is weighed down by weak characters, weaker drama. As the film develops I must admit the characters get indisputably better, by the mid-film having fully gained at least my interest in their survival. Still, their actions seem headstrong, and rushed in the context of all that could go wrong.

For a scenario loaded with a hefty supply of pre-packaged fear, and realistic application (especially for those of us with fear of heights), Frozen often reaches for that extra bit of tension, and in turn, supplants the fear for action. Though I do admit the two can easily overlap, Frozen isn't able to quite put them together, using a lot of close shots to keep the claustrophobia, which leaves the fear of the over arching situation at bay (i.e. the height they're stuck at).

That's not to say Frozen is not admirable, and enjoyable. Well, enjoyable may be the wrong word, but you get what I mean. Frozen shows it's not afraid to deliver onto the central characters pain, and make their situation more dire. Which is the best thing it can do for the viewer, because when you're stuck starring at 3 people on a bench you need that in the back of your mind to keep going through its hour and a half runtime.

When all the building comes to a cross in the final third, which is by far the best element of the film, Frozen is able to build tension through our caring for the characters. They're final plays at survival add to our growing appreciation for them, and removal of their hollow beginning. It's the final third of the film that really makes Frozen an adventure worth taking.
 Despite genre conventions, Frozen is able to save itself from complete mediocrity by opening up its characters, and using the entire scenario to its benefit. Things definitely could have been done better, but it's never so bad as to warrant dismissal, nor so good as to request the highest of esteem. Working in some good and bad Frozen is a thrilling time, worthy of yours if you care to seek it out.

2 better thoughts:

Rachel said...

Glad to know this isn't a total waste. I had some interest in it when I saw the trailer, mainly just to see how contrived the plot was. I'm impressed the 3rd act is the strongest, as that's normally when things fall apart.

Canada Drugs said...

The magic is that it is not frozen BadGuy. It is just man against nature. I feared at first that the film would be slow. I mean, how many things can happen in such a small space?

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