Starring: Thomas Blanchard, Thomas Scimeca, François Chattot
Director: Sebastian Betbeder
Running Time: 98 mins
Journey To Greenland (Le voyage au Groenland) is a French film about two struggling actors who take a trip to the remote town of Kullorsuaq in Greenland, and come to understand the way of life of the local people that they had once dismissed.
While it promises an intimate and quirky portrayal of life in rural Greenland, as well as the development of two city boys when exposed to a completely different environment, Journey To Greenland just doesn’t have that special feeling, providing a far duller and emptier experience really missing out on the charm and wit that it did have potential for.
The biggest problem with this film by a mile is the fact that it’s just not as heartwarming as it needs to be. Given that it’s not going for laugh-out-loud, slapstick comedy, and centring most of the humour on the quirks of the local Greenlandic people clashing with two Parisians, what this film really needed to do was put a lot of focus on the charming elements of Greenland, something that would have easily helped the comedy to be both funnier as well as more engrossing.
However, there’s way too much focus on the two city boys complaining for a large portion of the movie, and although the story does aim to show them coming round to the local way of life, it’s just not convincing enough, consistently missing the mark when it comes to focusing on the true charms of Greenland that the characters come to appreciate.
Another issue with the film is the performances. While the screenplay doesn’t do the comedy or dramatic story any favours, the performances really don’t offer much. Above all, the two leads in Thomas Blanchard and Thomas Scimeca just aren’t likable enough to spend an enjoyable hour and a half being immersed in Greenlandic life, and although the film attempts to be more relatable by putting in their 21st century worries throughout the film, their performances neither live up to their characters’ extreme displacement from their normal lives, nor their eventual enthusiasm for the charming local Greenlandic people.
The scenery throughout may be stunning, and director Sebastian Betbeder generally does a good job at making rural Greenland seem like a quirky and charming place, the fact of the matter is that the story itself has no similar substance, with an empty approach that fails to charm you in the way that the film so clearly tries to, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.0 overall.