Movie Reviews

The Mountain Between Us – A Solid, Survival Film Coasting on Star Power

Idris Elba and Kate Winslet together in a film will probably be enough for most people but will the film actually do them justice?

Synopsis: Photojournalist Alex Martin and surgeon Ben Bass have never met before, but they have at least one thing in common: both need to get back to Baltimore. She’s getting married the next day; he’s to perform emergency surgery. When their flight out of Denver is cancelled, the two hire a charter plane but once they’re in the air, things go tragically wrong. Stranded atop a snow-covered mountain with paltry provisions and no hope of rescue, Alex and Ben must work together — and trust each other — if they are to get out alive. (tiff.net)

Starring: Idris ElbaKate WinsletBeau Bridges

Writers: Chris Weitz and J. Mills Goodloe

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 103mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out The Mountain Between Us on movietimes.com.

The problem with having such big stars as Elba and Winslet is that it relies too much on their status and this was the case here. This doesn’t quite sink the film but it could have been so much more than what it was. The best survival films have endearing characters that we as viewers can invest in. This did not happen here for the most part as Ben Bass and Alex Martin, played by Elba and Winslet respectively, coasted on their star power and the unoriginal script.

Instead of getting to know the characters, we are thrust right into the bulk of the story where Bass and Martin, needing to catch a flight out of Idaho for surgery and a wedding, charter a commuter plane from a pilot named Walter (Bridges). As everyone already knows, their flight goes wrong and they crash, leaving Bass and Martin to fend for themselves on a remote mountain. The way the story plays out from there should not come as much of a surprise as it was pretty standard fare with both encountering the typical challenges along the way.

Despite the predictable story, there was still some fun to be had. This was a pretty film with its beautiful, panoramic shots of the Vancouver wilderness. Just like in any survival film, nature acted as another character in the film with its weather and landscape reaping havoc on the characters but it did get repetitive after awhile. Bass and Martin were still fun to watch and their need for survival was still sort of compelling to watch, however, the film ruined their relationship by forcing a romantic relationship upon them. The lack of character introductions just made the progression of their relationship seem weird.

The best part of the film was, of course, Elba and Winslet. The script didn’t always do them any favors but they did a great job with what they had, providing solid performances. Their characters may not have been the most interesting, they were still compelling to watch together with their chemistry somewhat made up for it. The film also featured a dog that stood by their side throughout the film. What was funny about this was that the dog was more interesting than Elba and Winslet. The film’s epilogue felt tacked on and unnecessary while not having the intended emotional impact. The film could have ended much sooner without affecting much.

Overall, this was a decent survival film that didn’t revolutionize the genre by any means but was still somewhat entertaining to watch thanks to solid performances by Elba and Winslet.

Score: 7/10

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2 replies »

  1. Great review Keith, even though I’m not with you on this one. IMO its an Alpine soap opera in which the dog highlights all the film’s weaknesses. I gave it 2 1/2 stars out of five for great cinematography.

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