It’s been a while since we’ve had a really good survival movie and we’re going to have to wait a little bit longer because while the new Kate Winslet / Idris Elba adventure drama features strong performances and a pretty captivating story, the way it is executed is formulaic, by the numbers, and sad to say, uninspired. Casual moviegoers will eat this film up but when it comes to those who know quality cinema and pick apart films from different angles, The Mountain Between Us doesn’t really offer anything new and basically just drags during its 1 hour 49 minute runtime.
Based on Charles Martin’s novel of the same name, The Mountain Between Us follows two random (good-looking) travellers, surgeon Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet). When their flight gets cancelled, they join forces and board a charter plane to take them to their final destination. However, the pilot (Beau Bridges) suffers a stroke and the plane crash lands in the wilderness and the two passengers are left stranded with injuries and little hope. As Ben and Alex struggle in the snowy wild, they soon develop a romance and must rely on each other to make it home alive.
The survival adventure film has been done before. Cast Away and Alive come to mind but with The Mountain Between Us, we get a stale premise packaged with an attractive bow. That bow, of course, is the casting of the lead actors: the intense and highly capable Idris Elba and Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet. These two actors are fantastic on their own but when they pair up, they simply reach new heights. Unfortunately, however, the film they have paired up in is bland and way too familiar. It’s also worthy noting that this is another film in which Winslet falls in love amidst a major disaster. Titanic anyone?
With a snowy wilderness as the backdrop in The Mountain Between Us, the stage is set for a seemingly interesting film. The predictable romance between Elba and Winslet is silly and artificial but you can’t blame the actors for making the most of the lousy script. This movie is a Hollywood product through and through with a simple premise anchored by big stars. For these two actors, it seems as though this project was just another paycheck and that makes sense. The bigger you get, the more in demand you get, thus your price increases.
Aside from Elba and Winslet’s solid performances, we get a gorgeous filming location in Invermere and Panorama Mountain Village, located in Vancouver, Canada. The snowy mountain does provide for a wonderful background and it is interesting to see the two actors hike and trudge through it. The location can also almost be considered a third character in the film with its beauty and harsh treatment of the two leads.
All in all, The Mountain Between Us is a standard big budget production that offers little other than fine performances. If you are a fan of either Elba or Winslet, then I recommend this picture. If you are seeking a moving survival drama, I’d say look elsewhere because while this film means well, the execution sort of falls flat.