Movie Review - The Mountain Between Us
Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation and Thor) stars as Ben Bass, a doctor and neurosurgeon from London, England who lived in Baltimore and was married to an American named Sarah. Kate Winslet (Little Children and Titantic) also stars as Alex Martin, a journalist and photographer who lives in New York with her fiancé, Mark, but she works for various publications and outlets, which has her working all over the map, mainly in crisis zones.
Both are in Idaho for various reasons but need to leave immediately. When their commercial flight is cancelled, they decide to take a charter flight. However, that flight crashes into the snowy mountains of Utah, a vast wilderness where Ben and Alex are stranded for what seems like the better part of two weeks. Directed by Hany Abu-Assad, the only true interesting piece of camerawork is inside the tiny plane right before and during its crash, which seems to be done all in one, continuous take. It's appropriately claustrophobic and thrilling.
However, I could forgive it because this movie has a potentially compelling third act that focuses on the aftermath of survival and the possible consequences of what they did. Sadly, the screenplay by Chris Weitz and J. Mills Goodloe doesn't dig into that aftermath and consequences with any depth or nuance that when it builds to its final moment, I didn't buy that either.
The movie simply has no interest in examining the relationship between Ben and Alex, the why or how they fell in love. At one point, in the final scene specifically, Alex wonders if their love is real, but the film ends a few seconds later, so there's no time to explore that question.
As far as Ben, he's dealing with so many issues regarding his wife that he could simply be suffering from transference, which is exacerbated by Ben being stranded alone with Alex. Alex is injured several times and it's Ben's job to take care of and nurse her back to health. Therefore, he could be suffering from a kind of Florence Nightingale effect. The film doesn't care about that level of introspection. It only cares about superficial things, but who could argue when those superficial things include the beauty that is Elba's shirtless torso.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 51 mins.