A couple of journeys are going on in “Expedition to the End of the World,” Daniel Dencik’s playful but ominously open-ended documentary about a motley crew of Danes headed to Greenland on a schooner.
The inhospitable area they explore, sublime landscapes of rock and ice that scrape across the screen, isn’t the only terra incognita on the horizon. There’s also the uncertain future of an environmentally threatened planet.
Dencik’s travelers have plenty of time to contemplate this pressing question of 21st-century existence, bundled up as they are on a ship whose high masts seem to evoke another era. The deep thinkers are mostly scientists, philosophizing and taking samples from the earth. They’re accompanied by scruffy artists whose mental wanderings and doodles become a running gag.
Dencik should be included as one of these artists, as he aims to overwhelm with hyper-vivid vistas and dwarfing silences. There’s less of the quiet: He deploys Mozart’s Requiem and, when things drift, Metallica.
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Diversity of disciplines aside, the travelers’ musings tend to land them on the same big page, putting humanity in its place. The film is essentially an evolved hybrid of global environmental documentary and the group-trip experiments of reality television.
Its biggest step onto unfamiliar terrain might be its ambivalent ending, conveying uncertainty about what can or should be done next.