Beyond The Pole

Subscribe to Stephen Mangan alerts

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 25th October 2009

Distributed by: Shooting Pictures

Reviews 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: David L. Williams

Producer: Andrew J. Curtis, David L. Williams

Starring: Helen Baxendale as Becky

Beyond The Pole Movie Review

With a smart script and an enjoyably manic premise, this British adventure comedy gets off to a great start. But the story wobbles badly in the third act, and loses its audience as it gets both contrived and maudlin.

The uptight Mark (Mangan) and laid-back Brian (Thomas) are university mates who decide to set a world record for the first carbon-neutral, organic, vegetarian, unassisted trek to the North Pole. They set off with their cameraman (Russell), while smiley pal Graham (Benton), Brian's girlfriend Sandra (Cavaleiro) and TV producer Becky (Baxendale) track their progress back home. But they're unprepared to the challenge, which gets trickier when they meet a pair of Norwegians (Skarsgard and Arentz-Hansen) who look likely to steal their record.

And then there are the polar bears.

The film's opening scenes feature hilariously freeform dialog that sharply establishes the characters. Mark's continual ranting about global warming is amusing, as is Brian's oblivious cheerfulness. And even when things start to go wrong on the icepack, the shift to blacker comedy is effective. So it's extremely frustrating to watch as the screenwriters seem to run out of ideas, allowing the story to get mopey and pointless. As a result, their central message (about the importance of reversing climate change) is badly undermined.

But the film is almost worth seeing for the engaging first two-thirds, which are lively and clever, mixing sparky gags with silly slapstick. Mangan and Thomas make a superb duo, and their banter has the thrill of improvisation to it, which is why the strained plotting weakens it so badly. Meanwhile, Williams shoots and edits the film with a lot of witty touches, using the glorious setting (it was filmed in Greenland) and the mock-doc form to fine effect.

Although a Blair Witch-style segment is pretty annoying.

Essentially, as long as the film is having fun with its premise and characters, we are enjoying it as well. But as the plot begins to get serious, it goes off the rails. The writers indulge in a few extremely lazy contrivances as well as over-the-top nastiness. So when things turn preachy, they lose us completely.


Subscribe to Stephen Mangan alerts


Beyond The Pole Rating

" Weak "


More Stephen Mangan

Entourage Trailer

After making a name for themselves in Hollywood, Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends from Queens have finally made a movie. The only problem...

HAERTS - Interview Video

Brooklyn band Haerts released their self-titled debut album this year, and here they talk about how they first got into music, their lifelong friendship and...

Mark Ronson - Daffodils ft. Kevin Parker [Audio] Video

Mark Ronson will finally unveil his fourth album 'Uptown Special' on January 26th 2015 through his new label deal with Sony Music. He has teamed...

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin [Live] Video

Meghan Trainor performs her latest single 'Lips Are Movin' at one of her favourite places in the world: an aquarium. The song features, alongside smash...


Bastille - Things We Lost In The Fire [Live] Video

Live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta, Bastille perform 'Things We Lost In The Fire', the final single from their debut album...

Bastille - Oblivion [Live] Video

Bastille perform their single 'Oblivion' live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta. The track followed Platinum hit 'Of The Night' and featured...

HAERTS - Be The One [Live] Video

Haerts perform an intimate live rendition of their song 'Be The One', taken from their self-titled debut album released in October 2014 through Columbia Records....

ScHoolboy Q - Hell Of A Night Video

ScHoolboy Q released his first number one with third album 'Oxymoron', and he now unveils the video to its latest single 'Hell Of A Night'...