Long Way North

Long Way North

Directed by Rémi Chayé

Rating: 4/5

Long Way North is about a 15-year-old rebel who runs away from home after getting yelled at by her father. And it is so much more. Sasha’s journey has all the elements that make for a jolly adventure: unresolved family tensions, a potentially dangerous cute boy, a sassy barmaid, dynamite, and unembarrassed violence.

Going against expectations, Sasha is on her way to find her grandfather’s ship and defend his honour. This movie is not just for those who want Frozen 2, but for all of us who have doubted our conviction in ourselves.

The thing that makes this film most mature is its characterisation. There are no villains or heroes. Those who obstruct Sasha do not do so out of malice, but because they are following different agendas. Moments of conflict emerge from people being pushed to their limits. The story manages to give quirky and messy realism to its characters. Paired with dialogue that is simple, but nuanced enough not to give everything away, the straightforward and predictable plot manages to be pleasant and exciting.

Move over Pixar’s realer-than-life textures and state-of-the-art 3D animation, Long Way North’s flat-as-can-be colour blocks are killing it. The St Petersburg scenes feel like Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in motion, but it is the Arctic scenes that make the fullest use of the minimalist style. Jagged cuts of white and grey shadow slits dominate the frames in a striking representation of ice and glaciers. Without extensive shadows and gradients, the bright, blocky whiteness of the landscape breathes the unforgiving force of winter.  

Still not convinced? The theme music is a Russian take on Game of Throne’s Winter Has Come track.

This article first appeared in Issue 18, 2017.
Posted 1:20pm Sunday 6th August 2017 by Diana Tran.