This is one of the best, relatively new, movies of Russian cinematography. There is not so much action, but the acting by the only 2 cast members is nearly perfect. It is a drama on human emotions that makes you reflect - with various feelings for the next few days - on the story involving both harmony and contrast of characters. Simple plot. Deep meaning.
I have to agree with the one reviewer who...and I paraphrase...called this a "bleak but unfulfilling psychological thriller". I've seldom seen a film that so perfectly captures the sense of isolation. My biggest issue was that I could never quite grasp the motivations or mindset of the younger man. Okay, he fucked up by not delivering the message straight off, but he had time to make it right...but he never does.
Who is to judge what is "realistic" in a situation following two characters completely isolated in the Arctic dealing with tragedy and the meaning of their lives? Though some of Sergei's actions (as well as Pasha's reactions) were strange, perhaps it is years of menial work building up to nothing - a man who can't find meaning in a meaningless job, and that job is his life. Beautiful scenery and simple storytelling.
Beautiful cinematography and the tension builds very nicely for the first half, however I kept thinking how much better it could have been. The reactions of the characters were at times either unbelievable or too abrupt and I think, although I appreciate the slow pace, it could have used a little more substance. There really wasn't a whole lot going on in the movie.