SIFF Take: Encounters at the End of the World

Will I have my indie cred revoked if I admit that Encounters at the End of the World is the first Werner Herzog movie I’ve ever seen?

When I went last week, I knew very little about it besides that it was filmed in Antarctica and that Herzog’s reputation is love-him-or-hate-him. If this movie is indicative of his other work, I’ll stand over in the love-him side of the gym. Because as much as the film was, as you might expect, about the beauty of the largely unexplored continent, it was even more a tribute to people who are willing to live a life stripped free of pretense in order to do and experience what they believe is important, even though they know there are plenty of people eager to mock their devotion.

It's been a good while since I've encountered such an unironic tribute to sincerity, philosophy, and adventure, and even as a contributing member of our post-ironic urban hipster society, I left the theater wistful for more of that kind of openness.