Photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslett) and Neurosurgeon Ben Bass (Idris Elba) have the same problem: they urgently need a plane. When all their flights are cancelled due to bad weather, Alex convinces Ben to share the cost of a small charter plane. However once airborne, their pilot (Beau Bridges) has a fatal stroke which plunges them into life or death situtation, stranded atop a snowy mountain range.
As a mismatched couple of convenience, Idris Elba and Kate Winslet make for an endearing couple and turn in solid performances as characters who become increasingly reliant upon each for survival – Elba is the emotionally shut-down medic whilst Winslett is the persistently inquisitive photojournalist. That in itself is fine, as is Beau Bridges’s fleeting appearance and his snappy canine companion (who goes on to joins the couple in their bid for survival). Where the rations run thin in this tale, is unfortunately in the movie genre it finds itself in.
Unfortunately ‘The Mountain Between Us’ spans a very predictable chasm…’
You see, where ‘The Grey’ with Liam Neeson and more recently ‘The Revenant’ with Leonardo DiCaprio both provided constant tension in their battles against the elements, ‘The Mountain Between Us’ spans a very predictable chasm. With neither the sparkling dialogue or deeper characters, this film ultimately feels like a family-friendly TV movie, albeit with an A-list cast. With no real tension or conflict between the two principal characters, their laboured growth together sadly becomes the biggest threat to this movie’s on-going survival.
That all said, what is highly commendable is the casting of Elba and Winslet. Paired together in what is a further step towards addressing mixed race relationships on-screen, ‘The Mountain Between Us’ may not crackle with subtext or wordplay, but it does have other things going for it. Fortunately the whole canabalism cliché is dispensed with and whilst 1993’s remake of ‘Alive!’ still sets the benchmark for airplane crashes, this survival-against-the-odds story is solidly made, if predictable in the way that it handles its characters.
Better suited to a Netflix night-in to a multiplex night-out, ‘The Mountain Between Us’ never really explores the inference of its title but is still a solidly-made escapist drama which will make you glad you’re snuggled up at home and not fighting your through the snowy tundra.