On the Ice
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Shot entirely on location in Barrow, Alaska, On The Ice is the engrossing and suspenseful feature film debut by filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean about two teenage boys who have grown up like brothers go about their lives in the comfortable claustrophobia of an isolated Alaskan town. Early one morning, on a seal hunt with another teenager, an argument between the three boys quickly escalates into a tragic accident. Bonded by their dark secret, the two best friends are forced to create one fabrication after another in order to survive. The shocked boys stumble through guilt-fueled days, avoiding… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The effect is stunningly effective, submerging us in a snowy, frozen, barren land with few options but plenty of opportunities for trouble. It is an offbeat gem."
‑ Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"Unfortunately, the emotional landscape of MacLean's stoic main character, Qalli, is often as blank as the tundra."
‑ Sara Stewart, New York Post
"MacLean finds a steady rhythm that nicely captures life in the middle of nowhere. "On the Ice" stays frosty throughout, but it's engrossing if you can adjust to the temperature."
‑ Jamie S. Rich, Oregonian
"DP Lol Crawley's best efforts can't quite overcome the rather awkward performances of the film's mostly nonprofessional cast."
‑ Kenji Fujishima, Slant Magazine
"An authentic look at life in remote Alaska (the film was shot with a native cast in MacLean's hometown of Barrow) and at a people grappling with drugs, alcoholism, poverty and the limits of an unforgiving environment."
‑ Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"While Mr. Irelan and a few of the supporting players have some solid moments (the entire cast consists of nonprofessionals), the general vibe is too stilted to convince."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"Set in a remote Alaskan village, the film's great strength is making the landscape utterly extraordinary to the audience but painfully mundane to its protagonists."
‑ Chris Fyvie, The Skinny
"If only because of the setting, this is an uncommonly involving thriller. I could call it a film noir, except that the sun never sets in the film."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A sturdy vehicle for unadorned morality and pragmatic justice."
‑ John Anderson, Wall Street Journal
"Stark, unadorned, timeless and yet of the moment. Wear your mittens."
‑ Marshall Fine, Hollywood & Fine
More reviews for On the Ice on Rotten Tomatoes