Quick Hit: Idris Elba being a man on a mountain.
I’m not sure if you recall the marketing for The Mountain Between Us. It consisted of a whole lot of Idris Elba, and not a whole lot of Kate Winslet. In fact, I didn’t even know that the leading lady was Kate Winslet, so it was a pleasant surprise to see her plucky acting style present. While this movie isn’t great, it’s not so terrible that you feel the need to turn it off. It gives you a cheesy love story and some beautiful on location shooting, and that’s pretty much it.
The story is simplistic – two people charter a private plane to get to Denver for different reasons. The plane crashes and they are stranded in the mountains. These two people are the aforementioned Elba as Dr. Ben Bass and the aforementioned Kate Winslet as Alex Martin, a photographer. There’s also a dog, who is consistently amusing and never gets eaten, despite the obvious implications by the storyline.
I think my biggest issue with the film is that the sense of danger is never that great. The film just flits from one set piece (airport to cockpit, airplane on the ground, cave, etc. etc) while never really feeling like anything is progressing. That’s tough for a survival story, because otherwise what are the stakes? In this case, what they are pushing instead is the stakes of LOVE – because these characters are drawn together like snowflakes to the ground. And while there’s a part of me inside my increasingly cynical movie going soul that loves a good old fashioned romance, this isn’t a good one.
My next biggest issue is the script, which just has some absolutely vomit-worthy dialogue. Things like “I need to occupy my amygdala” and “brain? What about the heart?” is just absolutely worthless. It’s adding nothing of worth to the story, and instead distracts from anything interesting that is actually happening. This includes the slow-to-develop chemistry between Elba and Winslet, who give it their all despite the fact the script is clunkier than my car.
Their performance is the only thing (besides some very nice shots of falling Elba, and some nice mountain cinematography) that buoys the film from the gutter of poor romances into the wash of mediocre ones. Winslet is fun and blessedly stupid (not in an intelligence way, but in a spirited sort of way) and Elba plays the stiff role well, particularly when describing why they should stay where they are, repeatedly. In the end, it’s their final interaction that makes for both a fun and dumb way to turn off your brain before heading for the next swoonfest (I hear a new Tom Cruise movie is about to come out…).
Overall, ya, it’s a movie, that is essentially about letting interested parties project themselves next to Idris Elba. And you know what? That’s just fine. But that also means the grade of the movie is just fine as well – “C-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"