When an impending snowstorm grounds all flights, strangers Ben (Idris Elba) and Alex (Kate Winslet) foolishly decide to charter a light plane to get them to where they need to be. I say foolishly, but while it’s not the snowstorm nor the plane itself that strands them, it’s an ill-timed stroke on the pilot’s part. The plane crashes onto the top of a snow-covered mountain and when rescue doesn’t come, Ben and Alex find themselves trying to survive with a semi-trained golden labrador.
The Mountain Between Us is a romance film masquerading as a survival drama. Despite Alex being on her way to her own wedding and Ben still mourning the death of his wife, this shared traumatic experience gradually devolves into love. But even with Winslet and Elba’s combined star power, they cannot convince the audience they’re in love. Convincing as they are as tired strangers who are forced to make nice during an unexpected transit, the chemistry is just not there for them to be convincing as anything more.
With beautiful cinematography and haunting locations, the most infuriating thing about this film is the unrealistic timeframes. From the moment the plane crashes, things are ridiculous. Alex is unconscious for 36 hours. Now, I’m no doctor (Ben is though – conveniently, a neurosurgeon) but being unconscious for 36 hours following a trauma would be a pretty bad thing, right? But nope, Alex is right as rain with a sore leg and a few cuts and bruises, and absolutely no brain damage. I did learn a very good lesson from my wasted youth watching Lost and this is advice that The Mountain Between Us follows; if you’re going to be in a plane crash it may as well be with a moody doctor.
Three weeks passes in an instant, with Ben and Alex still so calm and composed, while let’s be honest, a normal person would be freaking the f*ck out. The contrast of Alex’s instinct and Ben’s logic is something I would’ve been more interested to focus on, rather than the ‘will they, won’t they’ drama. Unfortunately there’s no mountain big enough to keep the clichés from coming…
*The Mountain Between Us was seen at Dendy Canberra.