Survival love story. Two strangers meet at an Airport where their commercial flights have been cancelled because of bad weather. Striking up a conversation they decide that instead of taking the large jumbo jet and waiting for the storm to pass they will take a small plane, flown by a pensioner, and his dog, over the huge mountain wilderness. What could go wrong?
There is something about genre films that you still want to watch, it’s like when friends in relationships that are completely poisonous have arguments. You want to turn to your friend and say that they should call it a day, but then you’d miss the fights and the insanity of their relationships. Survival against the elements movies and Horror films often are the same. You sit in the cinema and shout at the screen, don’t go in the house, or don’t get on the plane, and yet the seemingly intelligent people defy logic, or the systems we know are in place to stop flights taking off in bad weather, or failing to log a flight plan, just go out the window. This is the basis for The Mountain Between Us, and although you can forgive a lot about this genre, you can’t forgive what goes on in the film.
As the two characters board the plane, played by the chemistry free zoned Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, they are flown by Beau Bridges and the Yellow Lab ‘Dog’ is brought along for the ride. While explaining that the vast mountain range is just one large blanket of snow Bridges has a stroke and crashes the plane. The Dog, Kate, and Idris survive. The majority of the film is them trying to get off the mountain, with a small part of the film showing the after effects of their lives afterwards. That’s not a spoiler, it’s not, if you watch the trailers.
The big problem here is that you have a great cast who don’t seem to want to be around each other off set never mind that bond that builds between people in stressful situations. Idris and Kate look like they just want to get through this filming to go off and do something better with their time. The script goes between loose and what feels like a lost leaf in a storm. The other massive problem is that because of this lack of chemistry between two great performers the two different elements of the story don’t work. The survival aspect of the film lacks any real danger, or for that matter, any real consequences for the characters. While the love story, as if you can’t guess with the lack of caring that seems to be shown, is so shoehorned in that you just sit there are wonder what on earth they are doing.
There are some moments that offer you a little hope but then they are quickly dashed away with some improbable moment. Tension should have been written on a wall around the production office in the hope that some would have crept into the film. The two dogs that played the dog in the film offer the best performances of the movie. Yes folks you’ve heard me right, yellow lab did a better job than Idris, Kate, and Beau.
The Mountain Between Us should have been the slap across the face survival movie to end all survival movies, but it’s not, it’s trading on the names of the big two, Idris and Kate, but offers very little more than that. I’d seriously pass on going to see this again.
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Writers: J. Mills Goodloe, Charles Martin, Chris Weitz
Stars: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges