Starring: Timothy Hutton, John Lone and Lindsay Crouse
Arrow Films
RRP: 13.99
Certificate: PG
Available 24 September 2007

Stanley Shephard is an anthropologist working in the arctic. When an expeditionary force finds a body buried in the ice it soon becomes evident that the body is of a Neanderthal man. When the scientists start to thaw him out, they discover that he has miraculously survived his long hibernation. Shephard sees this as an opportunity to study him to get a better understanding of our origins, but some of the other scientist just see him as a scientific and commercial opportunity...

Iceman (1984) was directed by Fred Schepisi whose other credits include Plenty and Steve Martin's version of Roxanne. The film was originally going to be made by Norman Jewison and though this didn't happen he remained on the project as a producer.

If you can get past the ludicrous premise for the film, you'll discover a movie that isn't half bad. Ok, so the science is dodgy in the extreme, but the performances make up for this. This is a film where the sum of its parts is greater than you would expect.

Noteworthy is the cinematography by Ian Baker, who also worked on Queen of the Damned (2002), Evan Almighty (2007) and a number of collaborations with Fred Schepisi. There are some magnificent shots of the frozen tundra which predates March of the Penguins (2005) and the BBC's Planet Earth (2006). Unfortunately, as this is only released in DVD format and not high definition, you wont be able to really appreciate the work.

The acting accolade goes not to Timothy Hutton, who plays Shephard (though there is nothing wrong with his performance), but rather to John Lone who plays the Iceman.

To be honest even if you were a great fan of Lone's most memorable role in Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987), where he played the adult Pu Yi, you would never guess he was under the prosthetics. Even though he is restricted to some unintelligible grunts Lone uses his facial expression to tell you everything you need to know about what Charlie (his grunted name sounds a little like Charlie) is thinking and feeling. The rest of the cast also put in good performances including Lindsay Crouse, Danny Glover and David Strathairn.

The film contains some memorable moments, such as the thawing sequence, and although there may be some that will argue the merits of the ending, overall it's quite a good film.

The film has no extras, which was a pity, and is presented in 16:9 letterbox format.

Charles Packer

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