On the Ice (2011)

Plot: In the barren beauty of Alaska two Inupiaq teens come apart at the seams when they try to cover up their role with their friends accidental death.

Starring: Frank Qutuq Irelan, Adamina Kerr

My Review and Thoughts: 

This is a quiet little coming-of-age film about two best friends in the small barren wasteland of Alaska. Two native teens Qalli and Aivaaq come to terms with hiding the deadly secret that both of them have. The cover-up of one of their friends death. The whole ordeal takes place through a thick drama laced story. 

The acting is superb and I think it shows the Alaskan natives in a wonderful setting. It showcases such beauty and the ancient traditions and how modern day society is slowly slipping in with snowmobiles and hip-hop music and most of all the downfall and deadly parts of drugs.

I have to say that the movie is a beautiful narrative showcase of Alask-ian independent film making. I think the movie has such an underlying reality to it that it expresses not only the beauty of Alaska; that is just the backdrop because the story revolves around the people, the community, the tight-knit relationships and how they come to terms with actions in  the community. They come together, work together.

The film also shows the native persons poverty, the negativity, the barren Alaska and the toughness and reality of people being stuck there, becoming locked and caged where teenage antics of boredom and poverty lead to drugs and having no escape. The teenagers feel they are locked in place.

Qalli is you're main character. His best friend is Aivaag. Qalli Is the shining star of the community, top grades, a scholarship to move on and grow. He's about to leave the area. Aivaag has no chance. He is surrounded by drunks, surrounded by the lifestyle of drugs, surrounded as if he is a prisoner. Both teens are like brothers, they grew up together knowing everything about each other. They love each other like family, the whole community is a tight-knit community of love built on the ancient traditions and yet now Aivaaq feels a little lost and betrayed as Qalli is about to leave and move on.

James another friend is kind of a hothead and when a situation turns violent and the outcome of a tragic accident both teens are stuck with hiding the truth, protecting one another, stumbling to wash away the sin that just happened. The tight-knit community is laced with sadness. Qalli feels the burden of his fathers and mothers dreams for him. His community is proud of him. The weight of pressure to succeed is weighing heavy as the incident unfolds. 

This is a story about actions, about guilt, about suffering lies. A drama laced thriller that deals deep into suspicious and protectiveness of a community. The two teens wrestle inside with their demons of the truth.

I feel this movie is a brilliant triumph because you become a part of the community, you become a part of the Alaskans, you become a part of Alaska and most of all you become a part of the struggle that these two teens are going through. These are real native persons, not fake persons acting like natives and that is one of its strong points because it uses authentic people of the culture.

This is filmed in a natural way that is what makes it perfect to watch because it's done with non-professionals, which is truly amazing and Hollywood could learn something from the acting and presentation of this film.

Hands-down the praise has to go to the acting by Josiah Patkotak for this is his first movie and he captures the part of Qalli flawless and makes the character believable. It's truly amazing that this is his first movie and he creates a character that I will remember long into the future. I will also praise Frank Qutuq Irelan who plays Aivaaq which this is also his first movie, both are amazing native actors that capture this movie perfectly and it creates a surrounding that is truly believable and thrilling. This movie shines with an atmosphere that comes together as a whole complete story.

I would like to shake the writer and directors hand for this film. Andrew Okpeaha MacLean wrote and directed a wonderful example of a film about life, friendships, growing up, community and consequences of ones actions. 

I highly recommend this film for it being such a truly authentic film, one that uses real people, real surroundings and a real story-line through drama.

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