Although providing a pair of award-winning actors in leading roles and set in a stunning mountainous region, The Mountain Between Us fails to capture its audience’s hearts.
Neuro-surgeon Ben Bass and journalist Alex Martin both find themselves stranded in an Idaho airport with their own individual reasons to get to New York as soon as possible (him – to perform life-saving surgery, and her – to attend her own wedding). When Alex is able to charter a small, light-plane she offers Ben a lift and it all feels like smooth sailing until their pilot has a stroke at the wheel causing the plane to nose-dive, crashing into the mountains below.
Although Ben and Alex somewhat amazingly survive the crash, they must then endure the freezing cold, lack of food, and mountain-based predators until help arrives. As hours then turn into days, rescuers are nowhere to be found and the pair decide that they must find help if they are to survive.
As both Kate Winslet and Idris Elba normally produce award-winning performances and rarely struggle to slip into difficult roles, the two, surprisingly, achieve only average performances and simply do not convincingly connect throughout the entire film. Where there is meant to be a growing emotional bond in the face of death, there only seems to be a lack of chemistry and almost awkwardness between them. Unfortunately, as majority of the film is only Winslet and Elba together in their fight for survival, the lack of emotional connection between the two lead characters continually brings the audience back to the reality of watching a film, rather than drawing them into a dramatic love story.
Alongside the somewhat awkward acting performances are some odd choices of cuts within the editing of the film. What would normally be long, dramatic, scene-setting shots of the cold and inhospitable wilderness are inexplicably cut short. The end result feels awkward and rushed in some scenes, as though this wasn’t meant to be the final edit of The Mountain Between Us.
Despite the film’s flaws, it does occasionally provide some spectacularly breathtaking shots of white-tipped, snow covered mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, looming above tree-filled valleys. Many over-arching aerial shots show the true isolation that these never-ending mountain ranges provide, putting into perspective how truly perilous this couple’s journey is.
Although there are some spectacular visual positives within The Mountain Between Us, there just aren’t enough to save this drama/romance from being a miss instead of a hit.
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