The Mountain Between Us (2017) – Film Review
Director: Hany Abu-Assa
Cast: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Dermot Mulroney
by Roger Crow
You won’t find the TOAM acronym in any film book as it’s a genre I’ve just made up. ‘Trapped on a mountain’ movies range from the obscure, such as And I Alone Survived, a TV movie I (alone) sat through once, to more well known offerings like Alive, Everest, The Edge, and truly stunning docudrama Touching the Void.
Now, added to that lot is The Mountain Between Us, the new movie starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba.
He’s a London neurosurgeon desperate to get to an operation. She’s a bride desperate to get to her wedding. Trouble is their flight’s been cancelled so they charter a light aircraft with amiable old pilot Beau Bridges, who assures them it’ll be just another job and doesn’t file a flight report.
Alarm bells would start ringing if there was no hint of what happens from the trailers. So inevitably the travellers crash with the pilot’s adorable dog and the scene is set for obligatory scenes of survival, recovery, going for help, facing vertiginous peril on cliff sides, and ravenous wildlife.
Injury-wise, Kate’s in a right state, but thankfully Idris is on hand to patch her up.
For the most part they are Kirk and Spock types. She’s ready to act on impulse. He’s the logical one who does everything by the book. Together they form an uneasy alliance and inevitably fall in love. Little wonder. It’s Idris Elba after all, one of cinema’s most charismatic leading men who even blinks in the sort of way that makes fans weak at the knees. Kate is great as ever, though a tad stagey. I half expect her to waft her hands and say “gather” after more dramatic scenes.
I’m glad only she adopts an American accent. Elba’s is perfectly fine but vocally at least, the more distance he puts between this and dire fantasy yawn fest The Dark Tower the better.
The whole thing is well constructed; the British Columbia vistas look fabulous; the dog steals every scene he’s in, and though formulaic, I’m never bored.
The finale builds to a satisfying conclusion and while it might not be the most memorable film of the year, the TV movie-worthy plot with top drawer cast ensures I’m left with a warm, fuzzy feeling by the time the credits roll.
Try and see it on the big screen for those epic landscapes, but failing that, it’s perfect for curling up on the sofa with a duvet and box of chocs when it’s released for home consumption.
Either way, it’s 103 engaging minutes of escapism which is well worth a look.