HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
Incredible Paris Incident
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Fox and His Friends
Bitter Harvest
   
 
Newest Articles
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agn├Ęs: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
   
 
  Encounters At The End Of The World Cold ComfortBuy this film here.
Year: 2007
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, various
Genre: Documentary
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Filmmaker Werner Herzog was invited down to Antarctica to make a documentary about life there, although he warned his sponsors that he was in no way going to make a film about "fluffy penguins". Instead, he wanted his questions about Mother Nature answered, like why, if some animals are more intelligent than others, don't they do more - if a chimpanzee is so clever, why does it not ride a goat off into the sunset? Then there was the human question about why we wear masks and feathers and set off in pursuit of the bad guy, but more importantly, why do people want to live in the remotest part of the world at all?

If this sounds like a confusing way to begin a nature documentary, then rest assured you do find yourself adjusting to the mindset of Herzog by the time he reaches the very South of this planet, and his obsession with the cruelties of the animal and plant kingdoms, along with the uncaring elements that cover the continent he visits with ice, do start to make sense. This could easily be a simple enough run through of what life is like there at the McMurdo Station, which is where he stays as his base of operations, as there are interviews with the staff and excursions out into the freezing wilds, but with that eerie Herzog narration, you're sent into a weirdly dreamlike atmosphere.

It helps that this can be very funny too, mainly down to our guide's irascibility in the face of a small settlement that, to his dismay, features such "abominations" as bowling alleys, an aerobics centre and an ATM machine. He tells us he cannot wait to get out of this place and start exploring, but there is the matter of a training course first, which he takes great delight in showing the visitors making a hash of in their attempts to simulate travelling through a blizzard by stumbling around with buckets on their heads and failing miserably to find their bearings. You get the impression that Herzog is immensely satisfied with this: see, nature cares nothing for you!

You can also feel his delight when he meets a research scientist who spends his days diving under the ice to the sea below and collecting tiny creatures, who tells him that the world beneath their feet is a violent and hostile one, and that he believes the environment probably won't put up with mankind for much longer: a clip of the scientists watching the vintage fantasy Them! envisages this as science fiction concepts of the revenge of our world, something almost imminent. In fact, Herzog seems very at home with the people who have gravitated to the South Pole, as they all have stories that could very well match his own.

In most documentaries of this type, the filmmakers wish to divorce themselves from the events they are recording, but Herzog has an agenda to place his own worldview right at the heart of the sights he shoots. Continually, he will interrupt an interviewee with his own observations in voiceover, or undercut the beauty of some remarkable photography with a pertinent opinion, although he is just as likely to allow the images to speak for themselves. The part that everyone will remember features, funnily enough, one of those penguins: after a hilarious conversation with a taciturn expert on the birds who has to field questions on the homosexuality of penguins and whether they can become deranged, Herzog captures one of them wandering away alone into the vast landscape to certain death; it's weirdly moving watching the little guy essentially committing unwitting suicide. As usual with this director's documentaries, there is a strange mix of his unsentimentality and the striking visuals he shows us; it's not quite classic, but this is one of his better efforts.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1907 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Werner Herzog  (1942 - )

Eccentric German writer/director known equally for his brilliant visionary style and tortuous filming techniques. After several years struggling financially to launch himself as a filmmaker, Herzog began his career with the wartime drama Lebenszeichen and surreal comedy Even Dwarfs Started Small. But it was the stunning 1972 jungle adventure Aguirre, Wrath of God that brought him international acclaim and began his tempestuous working relationship with Klaus Kinski. The 1975 period fable Heart of Glass featured an almost entirely hypnotised cast, while other Herzog classics from this era include Stroszek, the gothic horror Nosferatu the Vampyre and the spectacular, notoriously expensive epic Fitzcarraldo.

Herzog's subsequent work is perhaps less well known but he has continued to direct both provocative feature films (Cobra Verde, Invincible, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) and intriguing documentaries, most notably My Best Fiend, detailing his love/hate relationship with the late Kinski and 2005's highly acclaimed Grizzly Man. Herzog has also been the subject of two Les Blank documentaries: Burden of Dreams (about the making of Fitzcarraldo) and the hilarious Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (in which he does just that).

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Keith Rockmael
   

 

Last Updated: