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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 18, 2017

The Mountain Between Us Movie Review: An Engaging Story Of Survival That Ends Up As An Interracial Romance

‘THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US’ starts as a survival story and ends up being a love story about an interracial romance. The lead characters are Alex (Kate Winslet), a photojournalist, and Ben (Idris Elba), a neurosurgeon. They’re total strangers on their way from Idaho to Denver. Alex is getting married the next day while Ben is supposed to operate on a young patient. But commercial flights are suddenly cancelled due to a coming snowstorm.

Alex suggests to Ben that they team up by chartering a small plane so they can get to their destination on time. They hire an independent pilot (Beau Bridges) who takes his own dog on their flight. But like most well laid plans, they didn’t foresee that their pilot will have a heart attack during their flight and their plane crashes into the snowy mountains of Northern Utah.

They’re both wounded but Alex also suffers from a broken leg. What’s worse is that their pilot didn’t file their flight, their plane’s beacon and radio were destroyed in the crash, there’s no cellphone signal, and they are on their own with no one even looking for them. So they have no choice but to fight for their own survival while stranded amidst very beautiful but very harsh wintry surroundings in the wilderness, beautifully captured for the big screen by cinematographer Mandy Walker.

Both Alex and Ben have strong personalities, but they must now learn how to co-exist in order to survive the plane crash. Ben, who’s quiet and secretive, wants them to just stay on the place where their plane crashed until rescue comes along, but Alex,who tries to probe Ben to get to know more about him and his wife, says she thinks their best chance is if they’d venture to trek back to civilization and look for help, even if she has an injured leg.

During their stay in the mountains, they start to learn more about each other. At first they think that they won’t survive their ordeal as they don’t even have food, except for a cougar who threatened Kate’s life and ends up being eaten. But as days turn into weeks and they trek from the mountains to lower elevations, they start not to lose hope that they might just make it.

Idris Elba is one of the busiest stars today. He was in the last “Star Trek: Beyond” as Krall, played the Gunslinger in “Dark Tower”, was also in “Molly’s Game” with Jessica Chastain and “Thor: Ragnarok” as Heimdall. He also did voice work in hit animated films like “Jungle Book”, “Finding Dory” and “Zootopia”, and various TV series. We last saw Kate Winslet as the antagonist in the “Divergent” series and it’s nice to see her back in a lead role now.

Considering that “Mountain Between Us” is a film about just two people (plus a dog), both Kate and Idris give persuasive performances that bring gravitas to their respective roles and manage to make the narrative unfold in an interesting manner.

At the start, you don’t think they’re a likeable pairing but their chemistry builds up gradually in the course of the film as they face tough trials to survive. If you prefer non-gooey, non-sudsy romantic stories with a different kind of low-key treatment, you will surely enjoy this movie with its final scene set in London, as directed by Israeli filmmaker Hany Abu Assad who’s best known for his acclaimed film about suicide bombers, “Paradise Now”.