I don’t think there’s ever any middle ground when it comes to a disaster movie. It’s either good or really bad, but even when it’s bad it can still be a fun movie. Armageddon is the perfect example. However, The Mountain Between Us is not so much a disaster movie as it is a movie about human connection and how we can rely on each other to survive. It’s not the type of Disaster Movie where we have big explosions and lots of great action, but a movie with a very human story. And that’s what makes this movie good.
The plot is simple, to people who are trying to get home, Charter a plane and try to outrun a storm only to crash and get stranded. Then the movie turns into a tale of survival, which is where you find the humanity in the story because you have two broken characters who while trying to survive also learn how to live again. Yes, it’s a theme that we have seen before, but I don’t think it’s one that we get tired of especially when you have two great performances by the main characters. And this movie is good only because of the performances by Ildris Elba and Kate Winslet.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t give this movie much thought before I saw it and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it really was. Now I’m not going to say that it’s a great movie and you’re going to watch it over and over. It’s probably just a one-timer, but a movie worth seeing because of the performances by Elba and Winslet. As the two characters make their way through hostile environments off a mountain top and try to find civilization you immediately see how broken they really are as human beings. Both have their own tragic baggage an opening up to one another makes it easier to rely on each other as they survive and that’s part of the beauty of the story. What really makes this movie work is the beautiful cinematography within the mountains and the forest as they’re making the way back to civilization. I felt like I was almost in those harsh elements and that always makes for a good movie.
Now like I said before, this isn’t a perfect movie. We don’t know that much about their back stories, but just enough to keep us interested. And while it’s a great technique to have them tell their stories to each other, sometimes the use of flashbacks are little bit better and I feel like this movie suffered because we didn’t get to see more of their past except through conversation. Both actors pretty much take up the entire screen time and it’s always nice to have additional characters, even in flashback to add how these two main characters came to be in the situation they are in. Talking about their past only through conversation is a great device for the stage, but when it comes to film you can do a lot more. I just feel like you add more to the main character story through flashbacks I make us as an audience more attached to their plight. The other issue that I do take with this movie is trying to force a love story. I get that it’s easy to have a love story come out of tragedy and can make an audience feel more for the movie. But a love story isn’t what you really get coming out of a tragedy. Yes, there are definitely connections among survivors, but the most realistic connection is the level of respect that the characters have for each other, having survived the same ordeal. Take a movie like Saving Private Ryan where this small platoon has this great camaraderie having survived D-Day and all the trials leading up to finding Private Ryan. Yes, they fight, they’re angry, they get on each others nerves, but they are brothers at the end because they share the same ordeal and you don’t need a crazy love story to feel that emotion. So I feel like the love story in this movie is being forced even when you try to show them resisting each other and those “I don’t want to be in love” moments are still being forced. And it’s completely unnecessary to have a sex scene between these characters. It doesn’t bring them together as much as sharing their life with one another and their past to to help get through their ordeal and learn to rely on each other in order to survive. A good friendship can be just as powerful of an emotion as love. While, the love scenes and the trading and photographs are nice, it’s still very unnecessary for the story when it really is just a tale of survival.
Overall, The Mountain Between Us is a good movie and worth the price of a movie ticket. The performances of Idris Elba and Kate Winslet make it worth seeing. But it is far from perfect and will probably just be a one-timer for most of you. However, fans of Idris Elba and Kate Winslet should go see this movie because this is some of their best performances. I for one certainly enjoyed the movie for what it is and it’s definitely some of the best cinematography that I’ve seen in a movie this year. If you’re looking for a good matinee at the theaters, The Mountain Between Us is a good one to choose.