Expedition to the End of the World is an occasionally mesmerising, sometimes wayward but frequently surreal film. Documenting the journey of a three-mast schooner and its crew of artists, scientists and ponderously deep thinkers, it reveals a world of melting ice and arresting vistas.
Sailing for the end of the world – North-East Greenland to be more precise – the mismatched crew just as easily spend their time listening to Metallica as they do investigating for signs of Stone Age humanity. Likewise, they also clumsily hunt polar bears while occasionally getting metaphysical with discussions centered around existential questions to do with the meaning of life.
Sadly, these philosophic asides get a bit labourious as the pathos is lathered on rather thick. Conversely, one or two of the adventurers have an eccentric outlook and blunt sense of humour which inject some much needed levity into the picture – the site of a crew member posing victorious over the natural corpse of a not-polar bear brought much amusement, as did the floundering of hand-caught salmon.
The star of the show though is undoubtedly the setting. The great ice massifs, bleak mountains, rolling clouds and frozen oceans are stunning to behold and I found it a pleasure to simply take in the sights. The crew is intermittently intriguing to be sure, but the constant highlight is without question Mother Nature herself.
A dreamlike journey to world’s end that sometimes loses its way.