A masterwork of location scouting, costume design, art direction, and insert shots. Mann's sandbox, with ideas and images juggled moment to moment, not truly settling but inviting the viewer to a new terrain; this is a "frontier" drama, an aestheticized world predicated on pain and alienation. Both Michael Manns are present: absurd, macho melodramatics, and carefully observed detail and sociological insight.
The way Coogler judges how long to hold on faces for a first date, or edit footage of Apollo at Adonis' most (physically) desperate moment, or have Stallone react to a photo of him and his real son; it's all of an intimately felt emotional register, quiet but also triumphant like the preceding franchise. A small (therefore big) miracle of story and people craft in Hollywood's most souless age. Fought back tears throughout.
"How will we make it?"
"Maybe we shouldn't."
Fire and ice, blue and red, flares and snow. Carpenter fine tunes the formalism of his previous films to something absolute, pure (before branching outwards). The film has no fat, every shot creating atmosphere, building dread, sustaining an unbearable tension between bodies and the spaces they inhabit (as well as other bodies). In daylight, the Antarctic expanse is forbidding, rigid, sharp, but when night falls it becomes an abyss. Figures, rendered silhouettes…