The visual sophistication of director Vincent Ward (The Navigator
, What Dreams May Come
) pulls us through this often awkward chronicle of the lifelong star-crossed passion shared by a Canadian Eskimo boy (Jason Scott Lee, from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
) and the mixed-race girl (La Femme Nikita
's Anne Parillaud) he meets and falls in love with as a child. (A glowering Patrick Bergin is the third corner of the triangle.) Flamboyant sequences, like an amorous clinch on top of a billowing dirigible, and the heartfelt grandeur of the Arctic landscapes, are almost enough to compensate for the clunky transitions and the melodramatic excesses of the storytelling. Almost
. Ward's first film, The Navigator
(not to be confused with The Flight of...
), is a visionary oddity that gives a much clearer indication of the way his work was heading: into the upper atmosphere. --David Chute