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Is Netflix's Polar Worth Watching?

Duncan Vizlas is smooth sailing into retirement is interrupted when the firm he works for is trying to kill him.

Based on the Dark Horse graphic novels by Victor Santos, this film intrigued me for one reason: Mads Mikkelsen. This man is one of the finest actors working today and seeing him tackling a ‘John Wick’-like role earned my interest.


My interest was rather wryly recompensed. This movie is painfully crass. Deliberately aiming for an over the top pulpy feel evident of an adult graphic novel, but what this movie never realised was how quickly it was drowning in its gratuitous violence and loitering stupidity.


The stupidity came as the corollary result of not deciding on a tone. Watching Polar was like watching two different movies play out. One of which involves a solemn Mads Mikkelsen trying to live peacefully, the other sees a group of young mercenaries going around to each of the properties (owned by him), and gruesomely murdering each tenant.


There’s no mix, there’s no consistency. Because every transition, every stupid piece of writing only creates a cacophony as opposed to a fluid experience. That’s what this movie was – a painfully crass cacophony. Every scene transition features a loud sound effect and it became vehemently annoying after the first three edits.


The violence also seems confused. There’s one scene where this incredibly obese character gets blown to pieces by the young mercenaries and I just thought: “Why do we need this? I’ve only met this character and he’s been turned into spaghetti Bolognese. Why?”


There’s another scene where Mikkelsen’s character gets tortured and it’s depicted so morosely and so sickly that it just becomes disgustingly unpleasant. There’s no consistency with the violence because, at that point, I don’t know if it’s trying to be silly or serious.


That’s the problem with Polar. This movies emphasis on the violence and its petulantly pulp style is all it’s invested in. Because the character development (when present) feels so lost among the gore, the intimate moments between Mikkelsen and Vanessa Hudgens become easier to forget once the movie is over.


Speaking of which, these two are the highlight of the movie. They have two very strong scenes together where I could see them really listening to each other and absorbing what each person is saying. It’s a shame because some other moments are actually very awkwardly written and the way their relationship progresses especially by the end, it became very rushed.


Mikkelsen in particular is terrific. Lending a durable vulnerability and badass vibe to the role that kept me glued. But he couldn’t save this thing, this movie doesn’t deserve him.


This Netflix original became so distractingly noisy and so gormlessly violent that it ceased to have any humanity. It’s not cool, it’s not edgy, it was shock for the sake of shock. It’s an inconsistently dismal crass mess.


Written by Seán Mac G.