Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.
Based on a successful novel, ‘The Mountain Between Us’ tells the story of two strangers who find themselves reliant on each other when they are the only survivors of a plane crash in a mountainous region of Utah. The film is the English language debut of Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, and it marks a clear departure from his previous works such as ‘Omar’ and ‘Paradise Now’, both of which have strong political undertones. The film wastes little time in getting to its main survival narrative and this forms the bulk of the film as our protagonists overcome a variety of obstacles to reach safety.
The main characters are surgeon Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba), and journalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and we’re introduced to them at the airport when Alex charters a small plane (improbable but we’ll go with it) after all flights are cancelled due to adverse weather. Both have reasons for their rush; Ben has an important surgery to carry out the next day, and Alex has her wedding. It’s a film that essentially lives or dies by the central performances, and thankfully Winslet and Elba are both on top form and have strong chemistry with one another. These performances and the shorthand approach to the character’s backstory means the film can eschew the need for flashbacks or an overreliance on tragic backstories (although there is a hint of this) and focus squarely on survival, and it’s a better film for it.
The narrative does sag a little in the middle and I never truly felt that the characters were in any real peril, which does dampen the tension in a survival movie, but the performances always kept me invested. I also felt it unfolded in a fairly predictable manner, with the inevitable romantic angle telegraphed from the outset and the ending feeling a little too neat. You will have seen better survival movies, but I did really enjoy ‘The Mountain Between Us’, largely due to the strong performances from Winslet and Elba that help to elevate the material.
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad
Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Dermot Mulroney and Beau Bridges