Kate Winslet plays a Guardian journalist rushing to her wedding. Idris Elba is a surgeon with an important operation waiting for him at his destination.
Both of their plans are thrown out the window when a storm grounds their flight. But Alex and Ben – Winslet and Elba’s characters — will not be stopped. After a chance encounter brings them together, the pair coerces a local pilot to brave the snowy wilderness in a small aircraft.
As often happens with these movies, Alex and Ben’s journey ends in tragedy. Their plane falls out of the sky and the pair barely survives. Burdened by injuries and a meager supply of food, they must find their way back to civilization and you can see how this goes when you watch The Mountain Between Us online free.
The book upon which this film is based was both complimented and criticized for its simple, straightforward writing. The big screen adaptation seems to fall into the same camp. Maybe because Chris Weitz’ script is very direct.
The dialogue is snappy and the pace is brisk. The plot doesn’t spend much time in the setup stage of the story, quickly throwing its protagonists into the wilderness. The crash is one of the more impressive scenes, designed to be both ferocious and efficient.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Alex and Ben need to get to civilization before they either freeze or starve to death. However, despite that threat of impending death,the director steers clear of the grueling tone that tends to infuse most survival movies.
At its core, the full movie isn’t about two people fighting tooth and nail to escape an icy grave. Hany delivers a tale of adventure brimming with romance. And there’s also a dog that joins the couple on their journey. Abu-Assad understands what he is directing, and he doesn’t try to make it anything else. That is often the pitfall that stumbles so many directors. They are unable to decide on the tone they wish to achieve.
The director allows this story to be the romantic adventure it was always meant to be. Elba and Winslet earn their salaries and it could be argued that they carry this film on their backs, lending gravitas to what could have been a mushy, forgettable product. If that wasn’t bad enough, Idris and Kate are definitely prestige actors. Add the presence of this movie at the Toronto Film Festival to the equation, and there’s no way people won’t be looking at The Mountain Between Us as an Oscar Contender.
Elba isn’t wanting for roles, but it has been a while since he participated in a project that made effective use of his skills. The actor’s warm personality and timid demeanor is a perfect counter to the recklessness that Winslet brings to the table. You cannot help but fall for Alex and Ben, and as the plot progresses, you root for them to get together. Of course, none of that screams blockbuster but that will only matter to viewers who refuse to watch online the full movie through an unbiased lens.
When you finally decide to watch The Mountain Between Us, it will probably be with the intention of figuring out whether it deserves the talk it has been attracting. Of course, if you know anything about the industry, you know that such talk is detrimental because it creates unwarranted expectations.
If you judge the movie solely on its Oscar potential, then you will be met with nothing but disappointment. And that is problematic because that attitude has kept a lot of people from watching it through a fresh and unbiased lens. But such viewers shouldn’t be judged too harshly. After all, Hany Abu-Assad has two Oscar-nominated films to his name.
And for a flick that is more romantic adventure than prestige filmmaking, The Mountain Between Us will definitely suffer as a result. But that only assumes that most moviegoers are as plugged into all that awards talk as most critics are.