What is Antarctica like? Who lives there? Why in the world would anyone choose such a remote, desolate place to work or take up residence? Intrigued by an offer from the National Science Foundation to travel to the South Pole, esteemed filmmaker Werner Herzog talks to a rogue's gallery of penguin researchers, ice divers, misfits, and bohemians, all stationed at a sprawling, town-size base on Ross Island.
If you're familiar with Herzog's work (“Grizzly Man,” “Fitzcarraldo”), then you know he likes oddballs, deviants, and putting himself at extremes. In this superlative doc, Herzog finds characters only a novelist could invent – a plumber descended form Aztec royalty, an East European political refugee escaping his past, a sci-fi-loving aquatic scientist who believes the world is ending – but it's what he discovers about humanity and the environment in this inhospitable place that makes his film so compelling.