CROSSING, THE (2014)
Two young Australians, Clark Carter and Chris Bray hook up over the internet while looking for an adventure. They set off together, attempting to drag their home-made kayaks more than one thousand kilometres across the remote, largely unexplroed Victoria island in the Arctic. They battle freezing temperatures, knee-deep mud, razor sharp rocks, get chased by wolves and hide from polar bears until finally forced to admit their dream is over. After 58 days alone in the wilderness, they had covered only a third of the distance. Unable to let go of their dream, three years later Clark and Chris confidently return to finish the job - a little older, wiser and thinking they knew what to expect from the island. They re-designed and re-built a custom cart to carry the five hundred kilograms off food and equipment needed to survive a hundred days in the Arctic. After a positive start, things yet again take a turn for the worse. The duo soon realise the island isn't going to let them across without a fight.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Unprepared, untrained, underestimating every aspect of their adventure, Clark Carter and Chris Bray attempt to walk across an arctic island, with home made kayaks on wheels. Think Fawlty Expeditions. Not 15kms a day as planned, but barely 2. If it weren't life threatening it would be farcical. Ah but yes, it was 'a proper adventure', as they say in this home video doco that records their 'crossing'. It was 2005, pre Google Earth; they knew nothing about Victoria Island.
Peppered with major and minor catastrophes, the film is rather like watching a car wreck, occasionally livened by glimpses of bulky, hairy muskoxen, an odd polar bear, some wolves and stags and an arctic chook. The bullet proof tyre cover proves not to be slate and rock proof, the axel breaks and the slightest slope makes pulling their contraption virtually impossible.
They start to take it personally, blaming the island for all the setbacks and their own mistakes, in a display of human spite. But they grow more determined, especially when encouraged by a really good day on the river, floating and fishing. And all through these (mis)adventures, they keep filming themselves, which seems to me to have been among the most demanding and successful activities; and they used their ingenuity to position the camera in a variety of positions for different angles.
In the end they proved to themselves that they could persevere even when they thought they couldn't. It's a reminder to us all.
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CROSSING, THE (2014) (M)
CAST: Documentary featuring Clark Carter and Chris Bray
PRODUCER: Clark Carter
DIRECTOR: Julian Harvey
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Clark Carter, Chris Bray
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 24, 2014