Pretentious audiences turn away now; there is nothing to see here but a simple yet predictable survival love story which is pure unadulterated entertainment. Despite the picture being tipped for a number of awards during awards season, an award-winning film will not lay on its dusty mantel in a vehicle that relays heavily on its powerhouse leads to add some heat to melt its icy exterior.
When a storm grounds flights both top surgeon Ben (Idris Elba), who is at risk of missing an important surgery, and Alex (Kate Winslet), a photojournalist for The Guardian racing against time to get home in time to attend her nuptials, band together to charter a private plane from a local man (Beau Bridges) and his dog to get them to their urgent Denver destination. However-mid-fight, the pilot has a stroke causing the plane to crash in the remote snowy mountains leaving the pair stranded, Alex with the most physical injury and only the smallest ration of food for survival.
As the pair struggle through the falling snow under immense conditions, the couple builds a bond only those stuck in a survival situation can relate to leading into the inevitable romantic trap.
Better known for his action man type roles, Idris Elba steps out of his comfort zone as a romantic lead, with Winslet very much taking the reins to show the hulk of a man how it’s done both under the blanket of intimacy and in the survival stakes. Winslet’s Alex has a gung-ho attitude to adventure when she comes to terms with the fact that no one is going to find them and takes the bulls by horns to find her own way to civilisation. Elba’s Ben is more the controlling, cautious type, full of delusion in the hope they will be rescued.
The plot doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out, as a survival story it’s engaging, and due to the warming chemistry between Elba and Winslet it’s not hard to root for the couple on their bid to make it out alive but as the feelings start to grow in the second half it becomes a melting pot of gooey cheese as they realise they can’t leave the other behind.
Due to the likeability of its leading couple and the relentless determination of survival, The Mountain Between Us is better than it should be. The entertainment levels are high despite losing its grip in the last third on a love story which should have been thoughtfully written out.
The Mountain Between Us is out in cinemas October 6th.