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A father-and-son team canoe 500 miles across the frozen Canadian wilderness in this modest, slightly frustrating documentary filmed by the son, Chris Lucas. He’s a professional adventurer. His dad, Niall, was an actor in his youth and is a natural in front of the camera. He’s also the perfect travelling companion, pretending to be a crabby old git while really being affable, unruffled and perpetually in awe of the surroundings. The two are so thoroughly pleasant and politely English that their trip might have been sponsored by John Lewis. After nearly becoming dinner for a frisky adolescent bear, one of them says mildly: “Phew, that was quite exciting wasn’t it.”
The intimidatingly capable Chris planned the five-week trip down the Yukon river as a bonding exercise on which to get to know his dad a bit better. The thing about his family, he explains, is that everyone’s a bit stiff-upper-lipped. I have to admit, I don’t think this trip loosened them up. Chris is about to become a dad and there’s a conversation or two about fatherhood, but nothing too deep. The men’s relationship doesn’t seem troubled by competitiveness, though a psychologist might take an interest in Chris’s motives for making his dad Niall entirely dependent on him for five weeks.
Some of the limitations of the film can be blamed on the budget: as the canoe’s skipper and cameraman, it’s impossible for Chris to film some of the hairier moments. Perhaps what the film needed was someone else to prod and poke and get them properly talking. Still, there are valuable tips here on what to do if you ever find yourself in bear territory. Number one: pee around your tent. Bears don’t like the smell.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The Yukon Assignment review – canoe adventure doc stays in the shallows | Film