How are your survival skills? Say, for instance, you’re on a small plane that crash lands on the side of a snowy mountaintop … could you fend for yourself? In “The Mountain Between Us” that is exactly what happens to Idris Elba and Kate Winslet’s characters. You get a small amount of time, in the beginning, to set up the story arch, then you’re crash landed (pun intended) into survival mode for the remainder of the film.
To say I was on the edge of my seat would be an understatement. A few scenes may seem a bit far-fetched, but they do a good job of making you feel part of the action and working up your nerves. Oh, that was just me? Cool. We’ve been around the block with Winslet playing a distressed heroine, but Elba really stepped it up for this character and showed a different side of him than we’re using to seeing in his films.
While this is a true tale of survival — it also somewhat details the levels of human compassion. Elba is a straight-laced neurologist, while Winslet’s character is a photojournalist who, in her past, has been immersed in some of the most dangerous situations around the world, although none like this. Even though their characters were polar opposites in every way imaginable, fight or flight syndrome kicked in and they instantly forged a bond and protected each other in a way that was refreshing and hopeful.
There’s a point for each character they could have gone their separate ways during the ordeal, but I think the prospect of facing the unknown truly alone was more terrifying than facing it with someone else. Even if you knew you wouldn’t survive, there’s a bit of comfort in knowing that someone else is there with you.
Winslet and Elba really shined in this film. Essentially, it’s just the two of them for the crux of the story and as a moviegoer, you get to see a side of these two as actors that you’ve never seen before. If there is award buzz around their performances, it will be well-earned.
I was impressed with the knowledge set of both characters, which only highlighted the fact that I had zero of my own. Just know that if, for some reason, I do get stuck on a snowy mountaintop — to make sure Elba and a golden retriever are in tow.
In an attempt to not spoil the ending, I’ll just say this film is worth the ticket. It is enjoyable and endearing. And while I’m still on the fence about the final scenes, it’s really a magnificent film with stunning cinematography.