Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) both want to get home ASAP, but a massive snowstorm cancels all commercial flights out of Idaho. Getting married the next day and frantic, Alex enlists Ben in a plan to hire private plane and get out before the storm hits. It is a good plan, until it is not, in “The Mountain Between Us.”
There is a strongly familiar feel when watching this latest lost in the wilderness tale, this time directed by Hany Abu-Assad from the Charles Martin novel. Alex and Ben each have their ulterior motive to get back to whence they came. So, with a massive storm brewing and all flights out cancelled, what do they do? This is the start of a story of two people, stranded where you would not want to be and have to rely on each other to survive and get back home.
Yes, we have been here before, many times, but the talented Kate and Idris make you care about Alex and Ben’s plight (it does not hurt that hey have a cool dog with them) and want them safe. There is a convincing chemistry between the actors as they face and overcome tough obstacles to survive. Even though the story is familiar, the acting, as expected is fresh and real.
I give it a B-.
Under the direction of Hany Abu-Assad ("Paradise Now," "Omar"), stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet invest us completely in Chris Weitz's thoroughly predictable adaptation of Charles Martin's novel. This well crafted film is proof that even stories we've seen before can be worthwhile if made with quality.
Photojournalist Alex Martin (Winslet) is getting married the next day while surgeon Ben Bass (Elba) is due in Baltimore for a young child's operation but all flights have been cancelled due to an incoming storm. Resourceful Alex notes Ben's issue and invites him to join her in chartering a small plane to get to Denver where they can continue their journey. Crusty old pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) assures them they'll make it, but in a terrifying scene, he suffers a stroke high above the mountains. The plane goes down, smashing apart, its signal beacon destroyed.
Interestingly, badly injured Alex is the risk taker, while Ben believes they stand a better chance staying with the plane (he's also initially nervous around Ben's dog Raleigh, who's accompanied them on the flight), the first obstacle the two must face in their interdependent survival. With supplies dwindling, Kate sets off with Raleigh. Ben follows.
As a survival film, the beats may be familiar, but the film sparkles as Winslet and Elba begin to study each other, adjusting to their differences and sharing each other's dreams and tragedies. (One might note that if one were going to be stranded in desperate circumstances with a member of the opposite sex, one couldn't do much better than ending up with one of these two. Plus there's a dog!) With the Percell Mountain range of British Columbia standing in for Utah, the locations are as strikingly beautiful as they are harsh.
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