Polar (2019)

Director: Jonas Åkerlund
Writer: Jayson Rothwell
Based on: Victor Santos‘ graphic novel Polar: Came from the Cold
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick, Fei Ren, Ruby O. Fee, Matt Lucas, Robert Maillet, Anthony Grant, Josh Cruddas, Richard Dreyfuss, Johnny Knoxville
Seen on: 15.10.2022

Content Note: misogyny, transmisia, fatmisia

Duncan Vizla (Mads Mikkelsen) is an assassin. He works for Blut (Matt Lucas), but he is about to retire for real. Only Blut is not interested in paying out the pension fund and so sends the rest of his organization after Duncan. But Duncan isn’t known as Black Kaiser for nothing. He is the best of them, and he won’t give up easily.

Polar is absolutely abysmal. I got pulled into the film for Mads Mikkelsen, but I probably should have just quit it after the first scene – that is actually a very fair representation of the film and what it is: a misogynistic gorefest that, for some reason, thinks it’s being funny. It’s not.

The film poster showing Duncan (Mads Mikkelsen) with an eyepatch and a gun in the snow.

Polar starts with a an assassination of a character played by Johnny Knoxville. Without meaning any disrespect to him, but casting Knoxville for a cameo in 2019 already places the makers of the film in a certain context, a certain sense of humor that probably won’t speak to me. This assumption of mine was immediately proven right when the assassination for some reason includes one of the team of assassins giving him a blow-job. In fact, Sindy’s (Ruby O. Fee) entire reason of existence in the film is to wear skimpy outfits and fuck anything that moves and that is somehow important to have in an assassination team? I don’t know, I don’t know. I do know that it is only the begining of the misogynistic characterization of women in the film.

When the film isn’t being misogynistic, it is being violent and gory. I definitely prefer gory over misogynistic, but the gore wasn’t fun here at all. It just felt really mean-spirited. And the more jokes were being cracked, the uglier things got. It all culminates in a scene where the assassins sent after Duncan encounter a fat, trans person and kill them while making transmisic jokes, the film framing the entire thing as if fat people are somehow harder to kill and need more bullets to die. It is a sickening scene that portrays fat and trans people as inhuman. And it’s all played for a laugh.

Duncan (Mads Mikkelsen) and Camille (Vanessa Hudgens) leaning over a veranda railing. He is wearing an eyepatch.

I honestly can’t tell you why I watched the film to the bitter end. I should have stopped it and myself from suffering through it much sooner, Mikkelsen or no Mikkelsen, Winnick or no Winnick. But I saw all of it, and so I can say with all confidence that the film really doesn’t have any redeeming features or qualities. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the cast like I did.

Duncan (Mads Mikkelsen) having a smoke.

Summarizing: not worth anybody’s time.

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