When and Where Does Arctic Take Place?

Co-written and directed by Joe Penna (‘Stowaway‘), ‘Artic’ is a survival drama movie. It stars Mads Mikkelsen as Overgård, a stranded pilot who fights to survive in the most hostile environment known to humanity. However, when a rescue helicopter crashes near his shelter, he decides to save the life of the injured pilot. The emotionally riveting film is one of the best examples of minimalistic filmmaking and features little dialog to amplify the struggles of its characters.

Moreover, it gives almost no backstory to its characters, leaving viewers to craft their own interpretation of the story. As a result, viewers must wonder when and where the movie takes place to understand the narrative and its undertones better. If you are wondering about the time period and location of ‘Arctic‘ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Timeframe Ambiguity: Events’ Chronology Unclear

‘Arctic’ follows Overgård, a pilot stranded in the Arctic Circle after his aircraft crashes. Overgård survives by using the plane as a shelter and relies on fish for a supply of food. However, the film does not specify how long he has been stuck in the snow-covered wilderness of the Arctic. Given Overgård’s daily routine, we can assume that he has been stranded for at least a couple of weeks. Similarly, his journey lasts a few days when Overgård sets out from his shelter to save the Young Woman’s life.

However, we do not get an exact timeframe for the movie’s events. As a result, it is unclear when the movie takes place. Nonetheless, the film explores the human spirit through the adversity Overgård and the Young Woman face. Therefore, adding a timeframe to the events would have likely limited the story’s universality. Hence, the lack of a defined time period during which ‘Arctic’ takes place adds to the timelessness of the conflict faced by the characters and the movie’s themes. Nonetheless, based on the equipment used by Overgård, it is safe to say that the movie is set in the modern day, most likely during the 2010s.

Arctic Takes Place in Wilderness of the Arctic Circle

‘Arctic,’ as the film’s title suggests, takes place in the wilderness of the Arctic Circle. It is one of the two polar circles and is known for its harsh snowy weather conditions. Some communities in Russia, Norway, and Sweden are located on the Arctic Circle. However, throughout the movie, we are not given an exact location the characters find themselves stranded. In the movie, we see Overgård mapping out his surroundings and locating a refuge camp a few miles from his shelter.

However, we do not see the map to determine the route of Overgård’s journey or his current location. The film was extensively filmed in Iceland. In reality, the Island of Grímsey in Iceland is situated in the Arctic Circle. Therefore, the movie is likely to take place in and around the Icelandic portion of the Arctic Circle. Nontheless, the lack of clarity over the characters’ location adds to the movie’s survival theme leaving the viewers equally stranded as the characters.

Read More: Arctic Ending, Explained: Does Overgård Survive?