In this feature, nature is not your friend, but an indifferent force to overcome. Themes of struggles, endurance, courage, starvation, and isolation are explicitly portrayed. Watch as Polar Explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and his crew of 27 men beat the odds of survival in an expedition to the most uninhabitable place on Earth, Antarctica.

This documentary had me completely transfixed from start to finish. Ernest Shackleton’s boat, “Endurance” becomes wedged within billions of tonnes of ice, virtually crushing the vessel. Shackleton is under an immense amount of pressure to ensure the survival of himself and every crew member on board. He makes the hard decision to abandon the vessel. Him and his crew turn their three lifeboats into sleds and begin the hard excruciating task of pulling their basic survival needs, through the rugged frigid terrain. They do not get very far when the ice beneath their feet begins to crack, and they are forced to use the lifeboats as they were intended to be used. This is only the beginning of their two-year journey to find civilization.

Image: Casper Mazotti

Perseverance of the human spirit is strong within the film, as they run into hard situation after hard situation, and manage to rise above it all, with the assistance of Shackleton’s astounding leadership. He kept the men in high spirits, ensuring loyalty, and preventing depression. He would focus the men’s attention on the things that they were in control of, and ensured that all the men were equal, and rank had no play while they were stranded. Shackleton never asked the crew to do something that he wasn’t prepared to do himself. Some people today even refer to Shackleton as “The greatest leader on Earth.”

This true story is told by Tim Jarvis, a British-Australian environmental explorer, who is the only man ever to repeat Shackleton’s epic voyage. Throughout the movie, there were beautifully blended interviews, re-creations of the voyage’s events, as well as, black and white still photos and film clips from Shackleton’s original voyage.

With any good survival movie, it leaves you questioning do I have what it takes to survive both physically and mentally? What do you even do when everything goes horribly wrong?  There is something very primal about the person vs. nature conflict that makes this story so compelling. I highly recommend watching this documentary whether you are a history buff or not, there are so many amazing life lessons, and motivational elements within, and it has a feel-good ending.

Limited season from March 9th 2023.