The Mountain Between Us Review
Director: Hany Abu-Assad.
Another of those sneaky films that popped out of nowhere with only a few weeks worth of promotion until it's general release, which was already set at a disadvantage opening on the same weekend of probably one of the most anticipated films of the year, Blade Runner 2049. But surprisingly, I walked into a fairly, unexpected busy screening and looking at the current box office reports, equally surprisingly, Blade Runner didn't appear to be wanted as much as I anticipated.
Abu-Assad directs a film based on the Charles Martin's titular novel first published in 2011, about two strangers surviving a plane crash who then embark on a enduring journey of survival across the treacherous High Uintas Mountains. I'm sadly not at all familiar with any of twice-Oscar-nominated director whose catalogue of films consist mostly of Palestinian dramas but it isn't fair to say this is out of his jurisdiction, though it has teased my interest into why he worked on a project such as this.
We meet Alex (Winslet) and Ben (Elba), two complete strangers who desperately need to need to get home eastward. Alex, a journalist is getting married in the morning and Ben, a neurosurgeon is supposed to be conducting life-saving surgery but an incoming storm has caused all flights to be cancelled. Both being adamant about making their way, they charter a small prop plane to take them as far as Denver but disaster strikes crashing them into the unforgiving, freezing mountains that span more than a million acres.
Miraculously, both survival, but leaving them stranded beyond little hope of rescue or survival. Together they both struggle, not always agreeing on what they must do, facing continual life-risking dilemmas that threaten to split them apart. But out of this, a bond is formed and eventually an interesting romance blossoms, which has the story sway between romance and survival without never actually committing to either. It's not totally serious throughout either with some small drops of humour, mostly provided by their inherited dog. At times, the dog reminded me of Homeward Bound.
It's beautifully shot and both their performances are strong enough to pull this film through. I'm glad they allowed Elba to keep his accent. There's good chemistry between the two and Ramin Djawadi does a good score that weaves in between affectionate huddling and dramatic disaster. But, there's nothing wholly outstanding in any way making this film nothing more than a better than average romantic survival, like a diluted Titanic.
It's easy-watching and quite touching in parts, but it fails to explore the character dynamics fully, possibly rushing the story at time goes by. It does try, but it's just shimmers below the surface of what could have been an outstanding story of the human spirit and love.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0