Simplicity is a virtue. Clearly, first time director Joe Penna understands this as he directs a film which only has three central characters, Overgard a young woman and the Arctic itself. The latter batters our protagonist who, selflessly, attempts to guard the vulnerable, young woman. This makes for a film that pulls at the heartstrings whilst making one imitate the trudge of the snow themselves as if helping Overgard to pull his companion.
Yet, one could say that the film plays it too safe. Particularly in the first half, the story is based around routine, save some unique events. This obviously establishes Overgard's calculated survival tactics whilst, at times, sacrificing story beats. However, one must remember that this is Penna's directorial debut. To play it safe would surely be the logical thing to do. Furthermore, there is certainly a gleam of genius towards the end in a segment where our protagonist falls into a Hell-like pit.
Penna achieves a wonderfully crisp debut that sets the foundation for a parade of wonderful pieces in the future.