(out of 5)
One of the best nature films ever made, and a powerful indictment of the harm that humans have caused to the animal world around us. Farley Mowat’s autobiographical novel is adapted majestically to the big screen by filmmaker Carroll Ballard, with Charles Martin Smith as a thinly disguised version of the author. He is hired by the Canadian government to assess the cause of the vanishing caribou population in the arctic lands of the Yukon, which it believes is due to the wolves in the area. The government is possibly looking at starting a program to systematically kill the wolves in the north, until our protagonist spends enough time alone in the cold, desolate land of these animals, and discovers that (surprise surprise) it is human interference and not a natural imbalance of the animal food chain that is responsible for the problem. Going on this journey with him is a marvelously sensual experience, photographed to perfection and so incredibly atmospheric that you can practically smell the cold air while you’re watching it. You’ll also never look at mice the same way ever again.
Directed by Carroll Ballard
Cinematography by Hiro Narita
Music by Mark Isham
Production Design by Graeme Murray