In 1991 a couple hiking in the Alps found what they believed was the corpse of a modern-day climber. On further investigation, the body was revealed to be over 5000 years old, making it the oldest natural mummy discovered in Europe.
‘Ötzi – The Iceman' was the name scientists gave to the mummy. When archaeologists excavated the body, they found tantalising clues about how people lived during the Copper Age, which is the transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. Academics could even tell Ötzi's final meal before the ice entombed him. However, one aspect of the mummy which fascinated everyone was how he died.
In 2001, it was determined through an X-ray that there was an arrowhead stuck in Ötzi's left shoulder. The arrow injury caused massive blood loss and the iceman probably died shortly after being struck.
Who killed Ötzi? What was he doing so high on the mountain? Why was he carrying fourteen arrows and a longbow? ‘Iceman' attempts to answer the mysteries surrounding his life and death.
The ‘Iceman' and his family lived in a small village on the banks of a meandering river. They spent their days hunting and foraging for food. The film does a fantastic job depicting how these early European people lived. Interestingly, the movie has very little dialogue; the story is told visually. When the actors do speak, they talk in the ancient Rhaetic language, which sounds exactly like how I'd imagined cavemen communicated.
I was sceptical about this approach to story-telling, thinking it would alienate me from the characters. I was wrong, the lack of dialogue forces you to concentrate on the actors' faces, and you became absorbed in the story.
If you were thinking ‘Iceman' sounds like a boring anthropological tale, you'd be wrong. The movie has fully fleshed out characters and plot.
When a tribe from a nearby settlement attacks Ötzi and his family, the story then develops into an engaging ‘Chase Movie' with an element of ‘Classic Westerns' like ‘The Revenant‘ and ‘True Grit'.
While Iceman never reaches epic-movie status, it's well worth watching for fans of historical dramas or anyone who wants to try something a little different.
Although we'll never know the truth of how Ötzi died, ‘Iceman' is a thoroughly entertaining hypothesis on the events which took place over 5000 years ago. The movie is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.