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Movie Review: 'The Mountain Between Us'

The Mountain Between Us is bad but in a fun way.

The Mountain Between Us is damn near comedy gold. This so bad it’s fun nonsense romance posits two attractive leads delivering silly dialogue and rote drama in the midst of hyper-circumstances. When Dr. Ben, played by Idris Elba, responds to his new friend Alex, played by Kate Winslet, saying that ‘the heart is just a muscle,’ try to control your gag reflex and for the sake of the few who might be able to process such schmaltz, stifle your giggles.

At an airport in Idaho, Dr. Ben apparently believes he can reason his way onto a cancelled flight to New York where he’s supposed to operate on the brain of a 10-year-old child while reuniting the child’s parents, and saving the boy’s puppy from a fire. Alex overhears Dr. Ben’s frustration and hatches a plan. She can’t afford to charter a plane on her own but she could go halfsies with the heartthrob doctor and they can maybe get to Denver before the big storm hits.

So, our two new acquaintances kick in some cash and make the dire mistake of hiring Beau Bridges to pilot a small plane to Denver airport. I wouldn’t hire Beau Bridges to drive me to the grocery store, let alone pilot a single-engine plane at his age but that’s just me. I’m probably only saying this, however, because I have seen the trailer for The Mountain Between Us and I know that ol'Beau isn't long for this movie. 

If I am being flippant in this review it is only because I was supremely bored when I wasn’t politely stifling my giggles. The Mountain Between Us is a silly, silly movie that stacks the odds against Ben and Alex to such a ludicrous degree that all we can do is laugh. I’m no Bear Grylls but I have seen a Bear Grylls on TV so I know that much of what happens in The Mountain Between Us is nonsense from a survival standpoint. With the believability of this adventure out of the way we are left with Winslet and Elba and wow!

How can two people as beautiful and talented as Kate Winslet and Idris Elba have so little chemistry? It’s not even a lack of romantic spark, at times I had a hard time believing they were human beings who relate normally to other human beings. At one point, Elba’s Ben, thinking he might be walking to his doom, asks Alex to take his picture, she’s a professional photog and he quite awkwardly wants to be ready for when he ends up in one of those Top 5 YouTube Videos of the creepy last pictures of people who died.

Instead of doing the normal human being thing of humoring the guy and snapping a picture, Alex launches into a tangential story about how inhuman she was in a moment while taking pictures in a war zone. It’s all to tell him that she’s taken people’s last photos before and she’s too traumatized to take his last picture, if it might be his last, but still; human beings don’t talk to each other like they do in this movie. Then again, maybe this is the way that Idris Elba and Kate Winslet talk to each other.

It’s truly baffling to watch Winslet and Elba act out the world’s most awkward romance while also trying to survive the unsurvivable. It’s not like they really need to worry about what they think of one another, they are probably gonna die. And yet, I’ve seen teenagers on blind dates more comfortable than these two actors huddling together for warmth. Cactuses might give Idris Elba a funny look for being so prickly. Even at his most tender, Elba seems deeply uncomfortable.

Don’t even get me started on the lengthy final act which is flies completely off the rails as we are forced to suffer one desperately awkward scene after another. Only a cameo by everyone’s second choice of a man Dermot Mulroney as Alex’s fiancée managed to break the awkward vibe and Mulroney is really only good for a derisive snicker over his penchant for playing characters’ women leave for other more masculine characters. Not saying that happens here, no spoilers, I’m not telling you if these characters survived or not. I can tell you, just as the social media marketing has told anyone who will listen, the cute Labrador dog survives. That’s all the spoilers you will get.

I do recommend you see The Mountain Between Us, not because it’s great cinema but rather for a good chuckle at its expense. Poor Idris Elba has such bad taste in movies. First The Dark Tower and now this. It may be time for Idris Elba to find a new agent or someone to read these scripts before he signs on. I know Elba is talented, I saw him on The Wire and Luther

Maybe that’s it, maybe TV is the limit for Elba. Maybe that’s where his talent thrives. If his 2017 cinematic output is any indication, Hollywood producers may force him back to TV and away from the box office. 

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Movie Review: 'The Mountain Between Us'
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