Studio: 20th Century Fox (1 hr. 40 min)
Plot: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain.
Cast: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges
Bottom Line: **
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
This survival yarn in which a pair of plane-crash victims struggle to survive, sustains some suspense and a dark atmosphere for the first 40 minutes, but eventually the clichés of the characters and the predictability of the drama drag it severely down.
The film stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a couple of extremely accomplished professionals, who decide to charter a plane after a storm forces the cancellation of their scheduled flights. Alex (Winslet) is due to get married in 24 hours, and Ben (Elba), a skilled British neurosurgeon, is due back on the East Coast to perform a critical, life-saving operation.
The unlikely strangers join forces and charter a small plan to Denver in hopes of connecting to their respective destinations from there, but when their pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) suffers a stroke, the airplane crashes in the deep snows of the Uinta Mountains in northeastern Utah and their mission becomes a quest to survive.
Trapped in the remote region with meager supplies, that include four individual packs of almonds and a couple of candy bars, the two (three if we count Walter’s dog) embark on an transformative trip across the vast, rugged terrain to find help and fall in love along the way.
The most primal story Hollywood can tell; this is not a gritty realistic survival film, and is as predictable as a funeral. It's pretty convenient, Elba's character is a skilled doctor, and Winslet is a talented photojournalist, for her camera lens and his medical skills are certainly put to good use.
With his medical training, Ben saves Alex’s life after she is injured in the crash, and with her long lens camera, Alex able to find an abandoned cottage where they eventually seek refuge and swap relationship stories while sharing a can of soup.
“The Mountain Between Us” clocks in at 100 minutes and the premise follows the duo falling in love after four weeks, while battling sub-zero temperatures, hunger and hygiene. Elba and Winslet are both engaging actors, but there's nothing memorable about this soppy love story.
This action adventure drama is many things: a meditation on human nature, a tale of survival, and a love story, but overall, it’s a glum, frozen fray which will appeal to Elba's fans, but all others beware.
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Printed in the November 14 – November 25, 2017 edition