Review: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

Kate Winslett and Idris Elba star in this survival film which has a few compelling moments, some thrills, and a seemingly forced romance.  Based on the novel by Charles Martin, writers J. Mills Goodloe, Chris Weitz, and director Hany Abu-Assad offer the expected story elements that come with survival movies and not much else.  Though Winslett and Elba offer solid performances in their roles, it is simply not enough to save this often tiresome and ultimately corny rehash of a movie.

Total strangers Dr. Ben Bass (Elba) and photojournalist Alex Martin (Winslett) are pressed for time when their flight gets cancelled to inclement weather.  Aware that they are both in a difficult situation, Alex suggests that they charter a flight to get to their destinations on time.  Along the way, Walter (Beau Bridges), the plane’s pilot, suffers a fatal heart attack and the plane crashes in an isolated area of snowy mountains.  Though injured, Alex, Ben and Walter’s dog survive the crash and are forced to fight the elements while trying to find their way home.

Goodloe, Weitz and Abu-Assad fail to tread any new ground with this survivalist tale set in the ice and snow.  Though the film does have its moments, I found myself mostly bored with the overly familiar material.  The characters, though somewhat underdeveloped, are likable enough and Elba and Winslett do the best they can with the material.  However, the whole thing felt like everyone was going through the motions of the usual beats, scenarios, and emotional turning points that often come with this kind of story.

Even though Kate Winslett and Idris Elba perform mostly well together as partners trying to survive, the romance between the characters seems to come out of nowhere and plays out in an attempt to cheaply manipulate the audience’s emotions.  I can totally buy the two characters sharing sexual comfort in the extreme situation, but the way that it turns into a romance at the end just felt insulting.  This leads to an irritating, cliche-infested climax and conclusion that made me want to throw a drink to the screen. All I kept thinking, after watching this movie was how great these actors are and why they would think this is a right movie for them.  They are way better than this mawkish drivel and should have passed on it.

Though my rating isn’t my lowest one, I still do not recommend this movie to anyone.  It might not be the worst movie of the year, but it definitely is one of the more frustrating and aggravating ones.  I probably would’ve been fine with everything leading up to the ending, but the ending pretty much ruined it for me.  My recommendation is to skip this movie and see some films where Kate Winslett and Idris Elba perform material worthy of their talents.

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