Red Knot captures the painful emotions and interactions between newlyweds Peter (Vincent Kartheiser) and Chloe (Olivia Thirlby) as they settle into their honeymoon on a research vessel to Antarctica. It begins as an adventure with promises of cheeky intimacy, and quickly grows into a raw examination of their characters.
Their relationship gets caught in a downward spiral as priorities diverge and communication halts. Peter befriends researcher and environmentalist Roger Payne (playing himself) in hopes of gathering material for his upcoming book. Olivia seeks company from the handsome captain as they bond over shared loneliness. These stories are accompanied with playful images of seals rolling around, icebergs breaking apart and sweeping shots of uninhabited Antarctica tundra provide breaks from the unfolding drama onboard the ship. Metaphors are plentiful in the imagery - turbulent seas and stormy skies as a reflection of one’s inner emotional state.
The Antarctic landscape becomes familiar through watching (or wincing at) the human interactions as the characters find themselves on land. We bear witness to the winds that whip at hair and clothes, penguins casually hopping about and the diversity of low-lying shrubs and grasses in the background. As we see Peter and Chloe marvelling at the flora and fauna, as they amble off down a rocky beach to the ocean, it makes it desirable to visit the continent. Although I doubt the primary aim of the movie is to expose people to the beauty and wilderness of the south pole, it is unavoidable; even those who are not usually drawn to nature documentaries will find themselves wide-eyed.
Let this film be a source of inspiration. Go on an adventure with a lover or a loved one. Be genuinely open to the challenges that emerge and be painfully honest with yourself as you sort through it. Red Knot shows that adventure brings us into our truest forms and exposes what is underneath our most fruitful relationships.