Movie Review: The Ice Road

North Dakota featured in new Netflix film “The Ice Road” starring Liam  Neeson | KX NEWS

credit: The Ice Road

Some folks might have wondered if they were watching the right movie when The Ice Road starts off since it begins in the depths of a diamond mine in Katka where a foreman notes that the methane detector is turned off, which is a huge no-no for those working underground. A methane explosion can be deadly in a few different ways, and when an explosion rocks the mine, a couple of dozen miners are trapped and forced to wait for help to arrive. Unfortunately, this means that they only have so much time before they suffocate, meaning help has to come soon. The movie then cuts to a trucking station where Gurty, a veteran soldier with a serious mental issue, is being teased by several grown men, which is enough to make a lot of audience members wonder what in the world is going on. When Gurty’s brother Mike comes along and knocks out one of the truckers, though, he and Gurty are summarily dismissed from their position. One can easily tell that life hasn’t been easy for the two brothers and that being Gurty’s caretaker is wearing heavily on Mike. 

Liam Neeson learned about Manitoba winters — and Gimli Icelandic pride —  while shooting latest movie last year | CBC News

credit: The Ice Road

It’s safe to say that Mike is a good guy despite his frustration with his brother. 

Mike does try to get Gurty evaluated at a local medical center, but when he finds out that they’re about sedate his brother, Mike yanks Gurty out of the center and takes him along for another job that’s been announced. It turns out that Gurty is a gifted mechanic despite his shortcomings and his constant fight with aphasia, which affects his speech in a big way. When Mike and Gurty are brought onto the crew who will navigate the ice road to save the miners, it’s understood that the trip is going to be perilous since the ice road is said to be unstable during certain points of the year, meaning that driving it will be extremely perilous. When the company that hires them sends a representative, it becomes even easier to guess that something is amiss. 

Just the sight of the ice road is enough to give a lot of people pause. 

The fact that the ice road is real and that truckers have been using it for a while is reason enough to think that this job is not for everyone. But when the weather begins to warm up and the integrity of the ice begins to lessen. It’s seen that the truckers are rightfully concerned. When the engine of one of the trucks blows a gasket, things only get worse as the trucks are forced to stop, which is a very bad idea as the affected truck sinks into the ice, along with the driver. Tantoo, the young female driver that’s in charge of one of the trucks, cuts the doomed truck free after being told to do so by the person in charge, who disappears beneath the ice only seconds later. At that point, it becomes a little too obvious that despite this being a movie, the ice road has likely claimed a few loads over the years. 

The Ice Road Review: Liam Neeson Steers Netflix's Wages of Fear Homage |  IndieWire

credit: The Ice Road

The actions of the company feel a little overplayed. 

The big, bad corporation that is seeking to dodge their responsibility in the mine collapse does feel a little overplayed since the company man that’s with the truckers and the fact that the company wanted to streamline their production by skipping safety measures is something that’s typically seen in the movies. Does this happen in real life? Only in the shadiest of moments does this kind of stuff happen, since these days trying to get anything past anyone is nearly impossible thanks to the advances in technology. But in the movies, one can expect that people will be doing things in the shadows and trying to brush off responsibility toward their workers since money and the ability to produce more than their competitors are strong motivators that can get a lot of people to do just about anything they can get away with. When the truckers fight back, the company man is finally given his comeuppance in the form of a pressure wave that sinks him and the truck he’s trying to escape in. 

Overall, this movie is fun, but there are a lot of inaccuracies. 

This is to be expected, really, since, in any action movie, one can bet that the filmmaker is going to eschew reality to make things more cinematic and more unbelievable since this tends to increase the action and the audience’s reaction. The Ice Road takes a very real phenomenon and creates a story that’s gripping and a bit thrilling in order to tell a story that’s one hundred percent fictional but does show a very real danger that some workers have to face from time to time. 

It’s a nice break from Liam Neeson being the skilled killer. 

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