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Is Centigrade a True Story?

August 27, 2020
4 min read

We have indeed come far from our animal-hunting, spear-carrying ancestors, but the innate instinct of survival still exists. That’s probably the reason why the survivor narrative is widely popular in almost every medium of entertainment. From the American West survival tale in ‘The Revenant‘ to the intergalactic survival adventure in ‘The Martian,’ movies have explored the sub-genre in almost every possible way. Brendan Walsh’s ‘Centrigrade’ sticks to the basic tropes of survival thrillers and depicts the story of a young American couple, who get trapped under layers of snow in the arctic mountain of Norway.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might have already heard of several real-life stories of people who got trapped amid extremely cold weather conditions but still won against nature through sheer will and luck. Because of how often people find themselves in a similar situation as the couple in ‘Centrigrade,’ its story seems very real. So if you’re wondering if it is based on a true story or not, here’s everything you need to know.

Is Centigrade Based on a True Story?

Although the characters in ‘Centigrade’ are entirely fictional, it does draw its inspiration from several true stories of people who got buried under snow and somehow made it out alive to tell their tales. As reported by EW, the director of the film, Brendan Walsh, who co-wrote the screenplay with Daley Nixon, said that they put together stories of ten different people to figure out how these people got themselves out of a similar situation. Adding to this, he even said that he wanted everything about the film to feel natural. Due to this, he made sure that the cast and crew really felt the cold weather depicted in the movie even though it was being shot in an ice-cream freezer. Furthermore, the crew only shot the film three-four days a week so that the cast could diet and feel a natural sense of starvation that gripped the characters.

As you may already know, most films are not shot in chronological order because of several reasons, with some of them being budgetary and time constraints. However, Brendan Walsh shot ‘Centigrade’ in sequence to encapsulate the sobering reminder of temporality that comes with its tale of survival. Along with that, this approach even allowed the actors to build upon their feelings and vulnerabilities slowly. The fact that the movie was shot in the freezing temperatures of an ice-cream freezer might have even given the cast members a sense of desperation to complete the filming and get out as soon as possible. This feeling of escaping the scenario very well comes in tandem with the movie’s premise where the couple tries to escape before hypothermia, or other extreme health conditions get to them.

The lead actor of the movie, Vincent Plaza, talked about something similar by explaining how shooting in extreme temperatures was quite challenging. You can check out the complete interview below:

Apart from its realistic depiction of extreme environmental factors that affect the couple and also the physical changes they go through during their quest for survival, the film evokes realism by tapping into the psychological struggles of the protagonists. It emphasizes on how their dwindling food supplies and crippling physical conditions test their relationship as the tension slowly rises. They blame each other for things they never would if it wasn’t for the situation they find themselves in. Adding to that, several personal secrets of the two start resurfacing as the cold weather not only tests their bodies but their relationship as well. To put it simply, in its runtime of 127 minutes, the film goes beyond its survival themes by adding strong emotion to its claustrophobic explorations of the couple.

Read More: Where Was Centigrade Filmed?

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