Snow Walker ~ Survival in Alaska

Dec 25, 2006 (Updated Dec 25, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Excellent story, solid cast, outstanding acting and good directing.


The Bottom Line: I would recommend this one to most anyone. It's a story of survival and friendship in the most adverse conditions.

Directed by Charles Martin Smith
Barry Pepper as Charlie Halliday
Annabella Piugattuk as Kanaalaq
James Cromwell as Shepherd

Snow Walker 2003

Snow Walker is set in Alaska, 1952. Charlie Halliday is a hot shot bush pilot and veteran bomber pilot who had served in World War II. While dropping off supplies in the seep arctic wilderness he comes across a tribe of Inuit Indians. They gave Charlie some Ivory tusks, so he would agree to take a very sick young Inuit women back for medical care. Her name is Kanaalaq. While flying back to Yellowknife, the place blows and oil line and they go down in the middle of nowhere, deep in the Alaskan tundra country. Charlie and Kanaalaq survive the plane crash only to find themselves in the most destitute of circumstances. As if being plane crashed hundreds of miles from nowhere with no food isn’t enough, the mosquitoes are hatching by the millions and they don’t even speak the same language.

Although Kanaalaq is seriously ill, she keeps her wits about herself and doesn‘t panic. Charlie on the other hand realizing how dire the situation is, flips out, beats up his wrecked airplane and has a general temper tantrum. Then he leaves Kanaalaq with a can of SPAM and strikes out for the nearest town. Luckily for Charlie she follows him and within two days Charlie is wet, cold, exhausted and about ready to die. Kanaalaq nurses him back to health and saves his life. Afterwards they form a friendship despite the language barrier. About all they have is their friendship and Kanaalaq’s Inuit skills that allows them survive in the harsh arctic tundra. Can they survive while Kanaalaq’s condition gets worse and winter sets in? This is the story of the Snow Walker.


I found Snow Walker to be a very interesting movie. The experts say that the most difficult issue when dealing with a survival situation is the psychology aspect of it. How will you deal with the panic, despair, depression, hunger, thirst and the elements? Snow Walker depicts a horribly bad situation with a guy reacting as wrong as one can. If not for the Inuit women he’d a been dead within days. For the most part it’s a story of survival with a couple of twists.

It’s also about their friendship, respect and the bond that grows between them. The twist is while she is teaching Charlie to survive, her illness continues to get worse. Another thing that makes you think is the fact that Charlie refused to take her at first. He would only agree after her father offered him his two Ivory tusks. The story was well written. For a basic story of survival, I found it to be very intriguing. The plot is solid and the script intelligent and realistic. The film has a good pace to it no noticeable flaws.

The cast and acting is outstanding. Barry Pepper and new comer Annabella Piugattuk aced their roles. Barry Pepper is a superb actor and his performance in this film is just another feather in his hat. Snow Walker is a Canadian film and it was nominated for multiple awards and won eight various awards. I also enjoyed the directing and cinematography. The wide open desolate tundra country in Alaska is flat and vast. The excellent cinematography of the Alaskan tundra adds much to the film. I believe most people would enjoying seeing this one. I found it to be worthwhile. I give Snow Walker 4 of 5 stars.

RUNTIME: 1 hours 43 minutes
Rated : [PG] Brief nudity

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Thanks for the read,
© 2006 Joe McMaster

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