Review: 'Encounters at the End of the World'

Documentary chronicles filmmaker's trip to Antarctica in a cranky, lyrical way.

It is often incorrectly assumed that documentaries are more "objective" than dramatic films. But a great documentarian imposes his vision as surely as does a great dramatic filmmaker, and Werner Herzog, who is both, is a prime example. "Encounters at the End of the World," his first-person chronicle of his trip to Antarctica, is a supremely cranky and lyrical feat. He complains of the presence of ATMs and bowling alleys and aerobics studios – those totems of civilization! – but is enraptured by the desolate whiteness and the eerie, flowing life under the polar icecaps. Thanks to his camera, so are we. Grade: A (Unrated.)

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