‘The Moun­tain Be­tween Us’ is te­dious, corny

The Signal - - FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT - By Richard Roeper

That’s some moun­tain, all right. A gi­gan­tic moun­tain of ridicu­lous, snow­cov­ered steam­ing ... Some­thing. For the first hour or so, “The Moun­tain Be­tween Us” is a te­dious and corny sur­vival story, but at least it’s bear­able, thanks mainly to the all-in per­for­mances from Kate Winslet and Idris Elba as a cou­ple of strangers stranded in the un­for­giv­ing, icy wilder­ness of north­ern Utah, claw­ing and climb­ing and ban­ter­ing and bick­er­ing as they des­per­ately try to re­main alive.

And then ...... there’s the po­ten­tial for ro­mance? Are you kid­ding me?

He’s got bro­ken ribs and cuts and bruises, she’s got a badly frac­tured lower leg and other in­juries. They’re run­ning out of food, they’re al­ways on the brink of frost­bite. He took a nasty spill on a steep cliff. She broke through the ice and nearly drowned. They were nearly killed by a cougar.

Not to men­tion the fact nei­ther one of them has been near a shower or a bar of soap in a very long time.

Oh, and they’re fairly cer­tain they’re go­ing to die any­time soon. And, oh yeah, she’s en­gaged. What a per­fect recipe for a Ni­cholas Spark­stype ro­mance!

“The Moun­tain Be­tween Us” be­gins at the jam-packed Den­ver air­port, where all the flights have been post­poned or can­celed due to storm ac­tiv­ity.

Winslet’s Alex, a plucky and some­what nosy and slightly an­noy­ing pho­to­jour­nal­ist, is des­per­ate to get home be­cause she’s get­ting mar­ried to­mor­row.

Elba’s Ben, a neu­ro­sur­geon, has to get to Bal­ti­more be­cause he’s sched­uled to per­form surgery on a 10-year-old boy in the morn­ing.

Seems rea­son­able to ask why Alex is so far from home on the day be­fore her wed­ding. (Yeah, yeah, work. Come on.) Or for that mat­ter, why Ben isn’t al­ready in Bal­ti­more, get­ting a good night’s sleep be­fore op­er­at­ing on a kid the next morn­ing. But there they are. Alex over­hears Ben’s des­per­ate pleas to find a flight, so she ap­proaches him with a propo­si­tion: They’ll split the cost of char­ter­ing a plane to a re­gional air­port, where they can find con­nect­ing flights to their re­spec­tive des­ti­na­tions.

Suf­fice to say that turns out to be a re­ally bad idea. After a well-filmed and suit­ably har­row­ing plane crash se­quence that kills off the pi­lot (but leaves his Lab re­triever in­tact, be­cause you DO NOT KILL THE DOG in movies such as this), Ben and Alex awake deep in the moun­tains, with her leg shat­tered and his torso bloody and bruised. (Only a few art­fully painted scratches mar their hand­some movie star faces.)

The bea­con in the tail of the crum­pled Cessna is bro­ken. The food sup­ply is ex­tremely lim­ited. They’ll be able to sur­vive for a few weeks on wa­ter – there’s plenty of snow and ice around to keep that sup­ply go­ing – but un­less they find a path to civ­i­liza­tion, they’re doomed.

Off they go! How about this way? What about that way? How about wing­ing it? Yikes.

For a skilled and so­phis­ti­cated pho­to­jour­nal­ist, Alex of­ten comes across as whiny and naive. (When Ben talks about how he loves work­ing with the brain be­cause the brain con­trols every­thing, from thoughts to emo­tions, Alex says, “But what about the heart?” “The heart is just a mus­cle,” grum­bles Ben, as if talk­ing to a 12-year-old.)

Alex be­lieves in tak­ing in­creas­ingly reck­less chances be­cause after all, they’re prob­a­bly go­ing to die any­way. Ben is a hu­mor­less stiff who in­sists they should for­mu­late a plan and stick with it, no mat­ter what. Now is not the time to im­pro­vise!

So they butt heads and make up, butt heads and rec­on­cile, butt heads and RE­ALLY rec­on­cile. At one point you al­most start root­ing for the el­e­ments to win out, just so these two would shut up.

“The Moun­tain Be­tween Us” ac­tu­ally goes down­hill in the scenes that take place in the rel­a­tive com­fort of the civ­i­lized world. (I’m not say­ing they wind up res­cued. Maybe I’m talk­ing about flash­backs, or scenes not in­volv­ing the two main char­ac­ters. Not telling.) Der­mot Mul­roney is sad­dled with the thank­less role of Alex’s wet blan­ket of a fi­ance, Mark. We don’t see any rea­son why Mark and Alex would have been en­gaged in the first place.

Or any rea­son why the viewer should be en­gaged with this non­sense from the out­set.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.