Review: The Mountain Between Us

The Mountain Between Us
7 10

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US was previously reviewed at TIFF 2017

PLOT: Two strangers (Idris Elba & Kate Winslet) are stranded in the wilderness of Northeastern Utah when their two-seater plane crashes. With no food and no hope of rescue, the two depend on each other to survive, falling in love in the process.

REVIEW: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US could have easily turned into a Nicholas Sparks-style gooey love story. Based on the well-received novel by Charles Martin, director Hany Abu-Assad’s film instead shoots for an epic scope, being photographed on an actual mountain top (no green screen) with two of the best actors in the biz. While a romantic drama at heart, there’s enough adventure and excitement mixed-in to make this palatable to an audience that normally might not go for such soft-hearted fare.

It helps that the movie is cast so well. While Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are a rather beautiful pair, both are also grown-ups and legitimately great actors who bring gravitas to the project. Both give the impression of being fully-rounded individuals, something that wouldn’t have happened in a lower-rent version with two younger, less respected leads. Elba’s gruff doctor is closed-off and secretive, while Winslet’s photojournalist is a motor-mouth who can’t keep her nose out of other people’s business. Their chemistry builds up slowly over the course of the film, with you buying that the two wouldn’t make the most obvious pairing at the start, even if by the end you know that they’re made for each other.

The crash that strands them happens within the first ten minutes, with only Beau Bridges in a cameo as the ill-fated pilot to really support what’s otherwise a two-hander. Well, actually, there’s also a cute lab who winds up on the mountain with them, meaning you’ll be constantly worried about its safety as it bravely goes up against dangers like a mountain lion. For what it’s worth, the dog, with his constantly wagging tail, seems to be having the time of his life. While it’s maybe a life and death struggle for Elba and Winslet’s characters, the nameless dog is loving every minute of his outdoor adventure.

They don’t get too cutesy with the dog, although I’d be lying if I said he didn’t command attention. Otherwise, this is Winslet and Elba’s show, with the romance being low-key until the last act. For the most part, the film is focused on their efforts to survive, with starvation and the major wounds they sustain in the crash being the big hurdles they have to overcome. Elba, being a doctor, winds up in caregiver mode, but the positions reverse now and then throughout the film. Through it all, the location photography by Mandy Walker is exceptional, while “Game of Thrones”’s Ramin Djawadi contributes a subtle score.

While the epilogue is a tad soggy and drawn-out, THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is otherwise a solid studio-drama, and the kind of adult-oriented pic they rarely make any more. While not quite exceptional, it’s slick and well-done, and should play well to an eager date night audience.

Source: JoBlo.com



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