Review: The Mountain Between Us | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: The Mountain Between Us

Film critic Tom Smith-Wrinch is left cold by romance-survival drama The Mountain Between Us

When I heard that Idris Elba and Kate Winslet were to star alongside each other in  a survival film I was genuinely excited. Hoping to see how such an adept duo could battle against the elements in, what I hoped, would re-capture some of the gritty essence of the human instinct to survive as seen in the 2012 disaster film The Grey. However, as this is the real world we can’t all get what we wish for: a lesson I soon realised within the first 40 minutes of the movie. It seems that the film was loosely if not entirely based on the jarred 2010 titular romance-disaster novel written by Charles Martin- What a let-down. Ultimately leaving viewers with a movie that is unable to fully commit to either genre.

Granted, the pair within the movie do indeed provide some effective, if not powerful acting however ultimately it is their bland and utterly predictable characters that are their downfall. We follow the story of Dr Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) who, unbeknownst to them will be stranded together in the cold American mountains for god-knows how long following a plane crash.

The pair do indeed provide some effective, if not powerful acting
It seems that Elba throughout the film is not only the tall, sexy, British surgeon (not stereotypical at all) but is also somewhat of a Bear Grylls prodigy-  running the show whilst his counterpart, Alex, is initially unconscious with a leg trauma following their crash.  The entire first 45 minutes of the film consist of the duo eating, sleeping and ultimately talking in the remains of this plane, not exactly my idea of a riveting survival epic or indeed, romance - oh, and let’s not mention that we're treated to  Kate Winslet urinating in a pot.

I would also like to mention that the time sequencing in this film is simply dire; it is literally only when Kate claims that they’d been stuck in this piece of metal for three days that we get any indication of the passing of time. Three days?! The fact that Idris Elba is out there for that long and still being able to trim the top of his beard astounds me.

The time sequencing in this film is simply dire
It gets worse, after they do (eventually) decide to get moving Kate then decides to drop a bomb shell that they’d been walking for  three weeks. So, as viewers, are we supposed to believe that her leg has healed by the end following three weeks of vigorous walking in knee-deep snow? I guess that movie magic is a thing after all.  One must mention also that the fact that this is a “romance” movie, means that there is unavoidably some “romance” to be had. That being said, the morally dubious sexual intimacies between the two characters literally weeks after Winslet was supposed to be getting married to another bloke really raises a few eyebrows. It just seemed far too rushed for me, as if the director remembered that this was also supposed to be a romance and just added a few steamy scenes here and there, disregarding any notion of fidelity in the process.

Ultimately the film does try to address certain issues concerning the nature of humanity and our vehement will to survive, yet convenient plot devices, awkward sex scenes, choppy time sequencing and just a general feeling of dragging throughout the film (in case you didn’t know the film carries on for a good 30-40 minutes AFTER the couple have been saved) as well as a hopeless love interest fundamentally undermine such notions.

VERDICT:  The concept itself had potential yet I believe that its attempt to be two things at once (ie;- a survival epic and an ardent romance) causes the plot to simply crumble. For me, the premise was dull and whole heartedly predictable; you're likely to forget such a confused film within a matter of hours (sorry Idris, I love you really.)

Rating: 4/10


11th October 2017 at 9:00 am

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