The topic of the sluggish Norwegian biopic “Amundsen: The Greatest Expedition” may be the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, however its star is frozen water. On clothes and facial hair, from North Pole to South, ice whitens the display. There’s each indication Amundsen’s coronary heart is carved from it, too.
Clearly rejecting hagiography, the director, Espen Sandberg, presents Amundsen (Pal Sverre Hagen) as a chilly, egocentric fanatic with a merciless streak and a choice for married mistresses. Whenever we go away his frigid adventures to spend time together with his estranged, fairly tragic brother, Leon (a touching Christian Rubeck), it’s laborious to not acknowledge him because the extra humane, maybe extra admirable sibling.
Woefully brief on pleasure and lengthy on — nicely, simply lengthy — “Amundsen,” away from the blizzards and chattering tooth, is a pompous parade of stiff collars and stuffy rooms. Even when depicting the 1911 British-Norwegian race to the South Pole (spoiler: Amundsen wins), the movie by no means exceeds a lumbering crawl, regardless of an agitated rating that strains to impart urgency to its hero’s icecapades. A extra compelling film may need distributed with the litany of achievements to focus extra intently on Amundsen’s competitiveness, (particularly his rivalry with the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott), a alternative that will have dovetailed extra organically with this image’s central efficiency.
Instead, “Amundsen” tries in useless to make us care about its unprepossessing topic, a person who appears to extract little pleasure from his staggering successes. This leaves us with a psychological slide present of punishing ambition to which Hagen — grasp of the baleful look and glory-seeking smirk — totally commits. Even if his director hesitates to do the identical.
Amundsen: The Greatest Expedition
Not rated. In Norwegian and English, with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes. Rent or purchase on Apple TV, Google Play and different streaming platforms and pay TV operators.