Chernin Entertainment/Fox2000 Pictures/20th Century Fox
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Produced by Peter Chernin/Dylan Clark/David Ready/Jenno Topping
Screenplay by Chris Weitz/J. Mills Goodloe
Based on the novel “The Mountain Between Us” by Charles Martin
Why is that Idris Elba makes a movie with Taraji P. Henson and he spends the entire running time of that movie (“No Good Deed”) trying to kill her but in THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US he spends the entire movie trying to save Kate Winslet? Don’t get me wrong, now. If I was stuck on a remote mountaintop with Kate Winslet I would most likely be doing everything I could to save her my own self. But it was a thought that occurred to me while watching the movie and after all, part of the reason you read these reviews is to get my personal thoughts and feelings about the movie, right?
So here’s another thought for you. About forty-five minutes into THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US I realized that I was watching “A LIFETIME MOVIE: THE MOVIE.” Because that’s what it reminded of. A Lifetime Movie with a really big budget and two really great actors in starring roles. Now if you’re a fan of Lifetime movies (I’m looking at you, Lisa Marie Bowman) or if you’re a fan of Idris Elba and/or Kate Winslet then you’re going to be absolutely delighted with this movie.
Photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and neurosurgeon Ben Bass (Idris Elba) are stuck in Idaho due to an oncoming blizzard. Both of them have urgent, pressing reasons to get back to New York by the next day. She’s getting married and he has a patient he has to operate on. Alex proposes they pool their resources and hire a private plane to fly them somewhere, anywhere they can get a commercial flight to New York. They hire good ol’ boy Vietnam War era pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) to do the job. And as soon as he made a point of saying that he hadn’t filed a flight plan when Alex and Ben climb aboard his rickety plane I just knew what was gonna happen.
Sure enough it does. While flying over the most remote of mountains where there is no cell phone reception and zero chance of being rescued, Walter ups and decides to have a stroke and the plane crashes. And here I have to say that in recent years, movies have gotten so terrifyingly good at depicting plane crashes that it’s no wonder people don’t want to fly. I have no embarrassment at telling you I covered my eyes during the plane crash sequence. Yes, it’s that scary.
Ben and Alex survive, along with Walter’s dog (don’t ask why he brought the dog along…just go with it) with some injuries but nothing that Ben can’t fix up. And he proves to be quite the resourceful chap as he turns the inside of the plane into a somewhat reasonable living area complete with a mini-fire pit he fuels with leaking gas from the plane. His plan is to sit it out and wait for rescue. Alex however has a different plan. She figures they’re going to die on this mountain anyway and she’d rather die doing something instead of just sitting on her ass. After the obligatory bickering back and forth, Ben agrees to her plan and the two of them (along with the dog who didn’t suffer so much as scratch in the crash) on a trek down the mountain to find help. Neither one of them expects to survive but c’mon…
There’s not much surprise in what happens next and when Ben and Alex run across an abandoned cabin as the expected thing happens. I myself would have liked to see a man and women put together in a life threatening situation where they have to depend on each other to survive and sex doesn’t come into it. I dunno…maybe it’s just me but if I were in the same situation I think I’d be more interested to getting back to civilization than anything else.
But then again, I ain’t Idris Elba so Kate Winslet’s character can be forgiven for falling in love with him. And he with her. After all, you got two very attractive actors on screen it’s only natural that you want them to get together. The soap opera relationship dominates the last half of the movie where we sit through the whole “will they get together or won’t they?” business before the end credits.
The movie belongs to Idris Elba and Kate Winslet from start to finish (Beau Bridges and Dermot Mulroney as Alex’s fiance have little more than cameos here) and it’s hard to dislike any movie that has two of the most talented and likeable actors working today doing their thing together. THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is perfectly acceptable date night content and should be approached on that basis. It’s gorgeously photographed as it’s obvious Elba and Winslet were on location and I give them props for acting in what are plainly grueling conditions and doing as good a job as they did. But it’s not a demanding movie and you won’t burn up brain cells watching it. Just go with your wife, husband, sweetie, girlfriend, boyfriend, significant other to enjoy the romantic story and I think you’ll have a good time.