2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
gripping and well told,
This review is from: How I Ended This Summer [DVD] (DVD)
A Russian film with English subtitles might not seem like the most attractive viewing prospect, but putting any concerns aside, this is a compelling drama about two men working in an isolated Arctic Region who find a growing tension between them becomes almost unliveable.
Winner of two Silver Bears at the Berlin Film Festival for its actors and its stunning photography and of the Best Film Award at the London Film Festival in 2010, the film's setting is a remote Arctic island weather station manned by the experienced and dedicated meteorologist Sergei and the less experienced Pavel, who arrives at the weather station with youthful diversions to while away his free time in the unforgiving Winter months he will spend there.
When Pavel receives an important radio message, his awe and tense fear of the older man halts him from telling Sergei the shocking news that he has heard. He tries to find the right moment, but this deception leads to bitterness and suspicion affecting relations between the pair to the degree that Pavel fears that he might be killed by his companion as the news he should have passed on becomes apparent. Dangers are already all around from the harsh conditions they work in to the polar bears that roam the island, so Pavel feels closed in and scared for his well-being and the story becomes a survival drama as more is revealed.
The acting from the two leads is powerful and convincing. The location photography adds to the sense of belief that this is almost another world. This is a story that unravels at the pace that feels right and ends up as being a stunning drama for being so different to other films about being isolated in a remote area. This is cinema about relationships between people, their connection with their environment, about fear and cowardice and the strength of feeling they ultimately have for each other.
For a two hour film, I was gripped completely by it and while it moves slowly for some compared to more mainstream films, I would recommend it to others as a dramatic experience and as an exposure to storytelling using words, action and location to its fullest.