Friday, October 6

The Mountain Between Us - Review




R: October 6th, 2017 | R: 104 minutes | R: PG-13

After miraculously surviving a horrific plane crash, the two survivors: Ben (played by Idris Elba) and Alex (played by Kate Winslet) are pretty much left for dead. But they decide to fight against their odds and try to survive with a very low amount of food. On top of the lack of food they also have the elements of nature against them with sub zero temperatures and the fierce wildlife. Will they be able to find civilization again or are they left to be consumed by their freezing environment?

“The Mountain Between Us” is directed by Academy nominated Hany Abu-Assad (Who previously directed “Paradise Now” and “Omar”) and stars Idris Elba (Previously seen in “Pacific Rim” and the “Thor” films), as well as Kate Winslet (Previously seen in “Finding Neverland” and “Titanic”). And with such talent behind, and in front of the camera, it resulted in a great film. To start “The Mountain Between Us” is surprisingly very artistic, unlike how it was advertised. With the marketing, I was under the assumption that it would be like a rip off of Liam Neeson's “The Gray”. Thankfully I was very wrong. It was actually very emotional and had a very high amount of intensity, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. It also was written very well, with very realistic choices given to the characters. It felt very human. Things did not just “magically” happen like in other survival films. Another key moment that I really appreciated was a sex scene in this film. It meant so much more than just a sex scene. It was very emotional and really did add to this film. Complementing the story, it had a very good score composed by Ramin Djawadi (Who previously composed “Iron Man” and “Game of Thrones”).

Now the cinematography for this film was amazing. Mandy Walker (Who shot “Hidden Figures” and “Shattered Glass”) did her best job yet captivating all the beautiful, but yet treacherous landscapes. And as pretty as everything was, it literally was scary how cold it looked. I felt cold during the film. I literally was shivering at moments.

While all of that is awesome, the main highlight of the film, is the performances by the two award winning actors. They had such realistic performances, expressing the stress of the situation but in a very human way. And their chemistry was amazing, starting from awkward strangers but ending in a beautiful friendship. And Elba did a very good job playing a much different character than his usual stereotype of a typical bad a**. I mean, he was a very bad a** character, but he was legitimately scared that he was going to die. And he was a medic, as oppose to having some ex-military background or something crazy.

Now this film did have a few minor flaws such as some pacing issues, and I thought that the ending was too cheesy for the rest of the film. And while this is nit picky, I did find it annoying that during Ben and Alex’s brutal journey, they never looked like they were beat up or malnutritious. It took me out of the film a bit that they still had perfect bodies with such a lack of food. But like I said I am just being nit picky.

Overall I really enjoyed “The Mountains Between Us”. It was a very emotional and intense film with a good score, great cinematography and fantastic acting. It does have its minor flaws, but it is easy to get past them. I would recommend everyone to avoid the trailers for this film, and head to your local cinema to see it!

Rating: 4 out of 5


Cabell Cabell (Contributor) is a filmmaker from Tampa, Florida. He will watch just about any film but when he's not reviewing the latest hits he spends time directing films of his own.
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The closest I've been to a plane crash was on a flight back to Chicago from LA. We were coming in over Lake Michigan and the turbulence was no joke. While I was thinking about how much the airline would charge me for the fingernail damage I was inflicting on my armrests, I was carefully surveying the flight attendants.

I always assume that if they're not panicking, I shouldn't either.
I leaned over to my boyfriend at the time and whispered, "I'm just waiting for the oxygen masks to drop."
His response, without looking up from his book, was, "The masks won't drop, we're too low. We'll just crash into the water."
I'm too aware of my own mortality to board a 4-person plane, but Kate Winslet didn't get that memo.

The Mountain Between Us is the story of two strangers faced with travel dilemmas. Ben (Idris Elba) is a surgeon trying to make it to an important procedure for a young patient. Alex (Kate Winslet) is desperate to make it to her own wedding.

Regrettably, the weather never considers our plans. A looming storm has grounded their flights, but when Alex overhears Ben talking to the staff at the airport, she gets an idea. Fantastically enough, she just happens to know a guy with a plane who is crazy enough to take them where they need to go. Forget that silly old storm.

With his canine co-pilot at his side, Walter the Pilot (Beau Bridges) manages to keep them in the air for what seems like a very short time before going down in the mountains somewhere.

Ladies and gentlemen, I've never been in a plane crash, but I gotta say -- this is a pretty tame crash.

Left with bumps and bruises, Ben, Alex, and -- best of all -- the dog, survive the plane essentially bumping into the mountain. After assessing the situation, tending to Alex's wounds, building a fire, burying the pilot, and taking inventory of their rations, Ben concludes that they should stay with the wreckage until rescue crews come.

Alex makes a good point in arguing that their bonehead pilot didn't make a flight plan, she didn't tell her fiance, and Ben didn't call anyone before the flight either. Together, they've got to trek down the mountain to the treeline.

With waning assuredness of survival, the pair will have to avoid petty arguments prompted by their less than ideal circumstances and work together to survive the elements.

This movie is equal parts survival/love story. Winslet's character often talks about her fiance, but her words seem to fall on deaf ears. She gently prods about Ben's wife, but doesn't get much out of him. Naturally, she resorts to the equivalent of going through his phone when he steps out of the room and is awkwardly caught.

Her explanation: she wants to get to know the man she might die with.

Sometimes, when I cross the big bridges in downtown Chicago at the same time as a bus, the ground under my feet gives just a bit with the weight of the 12-ton juggernaut beside me and I look around to see the faces of the other people I'm about to die with.

A bridge I've been walking hasn't collapsed yet, but in that moment, I don't want to know anything about those other faces. Perhaps a snowy mountain setting elicits a more... romantic state of mind. Falling through a bridge into the stinky Chicago River probably isn't quite the same.

Enough about me. Ben and Alex clearly have some sort of bond, but to the viewer, it feels wholly synthetic. My primary concern throughout was for the dog, naturally. Alex is portrayed as a woman in need of saving. This film does a poor job of fleshing things out. When I say that, I mean that it happily glosses over things that it just doesn't feel like explaining.

Ben saves Alex so many times that I started a tally sheet. I came up with seven. She comes to his rescue all of one time. Unless you mean that she rescued him in a larger sense. Then it's two.

Over all, Mountain feels a bit scattered and misinformed. Ben and Alex have a relationship that feels overly saccharine and the story just tries too hard to do too much. At the end of the day, the dog survives. And that's all I really cared about in the first place.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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What if your life depended on a stranger? Well if that stranger happened to be Idris Elba, I probably wouldn’t care if I lived or die since at least I’d die happy. I feel like a better tagline to describe this movie however should’ve been “When everything else seems to go wrong, hopefully you’ll get lucky enough to be stranded with a doctor”.

Based off the novel by Charles Martin, Dr. Ben Bass (Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) board a charter plane after bad weather cancels their flights. They then end up crashing in snowy mountains, and now must survive the wilderness. My first problem with this movie was the whole plot. It was an interesting movie I’ll admit, but if I personally was in this movie, it would have lasted 5 minutes because I would not have gotten on a tiny sketchy plane in the middle of a snow storm after my real flight just got canceled for said bad weather. Despite all this stupidness, luckily Kate Winslet was stranded with a doctor who also was possibly a boy scout in his younger days.

Despite, the nonrealistic plot, the acting was at least good in this movie. Some parts of the movie did feel dragged out and long but overall, the characters did a good job of appearing scared, yet determined to survive. Plus there was a cute dog that I’ll admit would be the only thing that would keep me from going crazy. The scenery in this movie was gorgeous, and the action and crash scenes actually were filmed well and did not appear to be too fake like some movies are.

One more downfall to the movie was the predictable romance between the two characters. As great as their acting was, I did feel that they became more of best friends than having an actual romance. The chemistry between them just wasn’t as strong as I hoped which did made some scenes look a bit cheesy to a point where I did end up rolling my eyes a few times in the theater. Although Dr. Ben was single, Alex literally jumped on a sketchy plane determined to make it to her wedding. However, a few days with a sexy doctor tending to her wounds made her completely forget about her fiancĂ©. For most of the movie, these characters didn’t show much of an attraction towards each other so when they finally did, not only was it predictable, but it also felt forced in a way.

Overall, this was a decent movie. While some scenes were slow, there was also a good amount of intense scenes that had my eyes glued to the screen. I still did not enjoy the fact that this movie appeared very unrealistic, but thanks to great actors, this movie wasn’t a complete failure. Kate Winslet and Idris Elba did a great job with the script they were given despite the cheesy romance they were forced into.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


Ariel Ariel (Contributor) is a Military brat currently living in Texas. When she's not watching the current box office hit, she spends her days reading, cooking, and finding new activities to try.
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