See Jaime Lannister as you’ve never seen him before. Actually, you kind of have seen Nikolaj Coster-Waldau like this before. Rugged? Check. Bearded? Check. Pushing against all odds and fighting to survive? Check. Coster-Waldau’s Against the Ice is not only available on Netflix, but it is currently ranked as the number one film worldwide, holding down a top ten spot in the United States. Although it debuted on the platform to mixed reviews, the brand new film is making waves with fans of survival based historical pieces, and of course, followers of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Based on a true story, Against the Ice takes viewers on a (as the name suggests) chilly expedition. Taking place in 1909 Denmark, the film follows the tale of real life adventurer, Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen. On an assignment, Mikkelsen sets out to prove that Greenland was in fact one piece of land and not two. The reason behind the task? The United States was laying claim to North-Eastern Greenland, asserting their right to the territory by using the separation of land as a reason. Soon realizing that he couldn’t bring his full crew across the icy plateaus of Greenland, Mikkelsen was forced to abandon his ship to set out with just one member, an amateur explorer named Iver Iversen. Together, the two will push the limits of human survival in below freezing temperatures.
With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the leading role of Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen, the rest of the cast includes the talents of Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders, Gangs of London), Charles Dance (The King’s Man, Game of Thrones), and Heida Reed (FBI: International). Along with starring, Danish native, Coster-Waldau also co-wrote the film with Joe Derrick. The two pulled much of the story from Ejnar Mikkelsen’s autobiography, Two Against the Ice. Published in 1957, the book took readers on a first hand journey through Mikkelsen’s harrowing adventure by the man who made it himself. Directed by Peter Flinth, the film was shot in Greenland and Iceland to further demonstrate the harsh realities that the original exploration party faced. After its debut at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival just a few weeks ago on February 15, Against the Ice had its world premiere just days ago on March 2, on Netflix.
While the film is still very new, it already has met mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes is split down the middle, giving the film a 52% critics rating with a 44% audience rating. It’s still early days for the film though, so those numbers could very well change over the weekend. So far, it has gained praise for character performances, specifically that of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s, and stunning cinematography. However, critics have shared disappointment in the script and score.
Getting his acting start in the early 1990s on stage at the Betty Nansen Theater as Laertes in Hamlet, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau quickly rose to prominence in Denmark for his role in the 1994 Danish film, Nightwatch. Throughout the rest of the decade, the actor would go on to star in and write several Danish films before breaking into the Hollywood scene in 2001 via the Ridley Scott wartime flick, Black Hawk Down. Scott loved working with the actor so much that he brought him back in for his 2005 historical fiction piece, Kingdom of Heaven. In the late 2000s, Coster-Waldau would land the leading role on the eight episode Fox series, New Amsterdam which would mark his breakthrough into television. In 2011 things really heated up for the Danish actor when he was cast in the life changing role of Jaime Lannister in HBO’s award winning and record breaking series, Game of Thrones. For his work behind the charming character who we loved to hate and then just loved, Coster-Waldau would earn Primetime Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice nominations. In between filming all over Westeros, the actor took on several film roles, mostly in his native Scandinavia.
With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau so tied to working across the ocean, Against the Ice gives fans around the globe a chance to see him. Although the critics are not incredibly impressed with the film, there’s no need to write it off quite yet. With the team’s knock out acting skills mixed with the beautiful scenery, something is definitely to be said about tuning in for Against the Ice.