Beyond The Pole

Stephen Mangan is very adept at playing the callous, uncaring individual lacking in sympathy and this likeable mock documentary gives him a good outlet to display his strengths. He plays Mark Bark-Jones, recently separated from his wife after losing his job. He embarks on a trek to the North Pole accompanied by his best friend Brian (Thomas).
 
But this is a journey with a difference. This two-man team will be the first Carbon Neutral, Organic and Vegetarian expedition in the hope of getting into the Guinness Book of Records. They are joined by their photographer Steve (Russell), a hard nosed and sensible Scot who films their escapades. Brian leaves behind his worried girlfriend Sandra (Cavaliero) while Benton plays their portly pal Graham, a ham radio operator who can communicate with them while they're on the icy terrain.
 
En route they meet two gay Norwegians who are also hoping to accomplish the same eco-friendly feat, which arises the heckles of the fiercely competitive Mark.
 
It's an amusing, well-constructed piece and the digital photography is superb. You really get a sense of the cold tundra they guys are walking through - they even appear to come across a polar bear ot one point. Mangan and Thomas are excellent, the former becoming increasingingly unhinged in his determination, the latter less single minded and sadly missing his home comforts.
 
It wears out its welcome before the end but is nevertheless a very enjoyable effort, delivered with panache and smarts. A small gem, worth checking out. Recommended.

Official Site
Beyond The Pole at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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