Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Dermot Mulroney, Beau Bridges, Linda Sorensen, Vincent Gale, Marci T. House.
The Mountain Between Us is such that at times what we perceive is heroic and noble in ourselves can be considered as weak and ineffective by others. Our stance in the wake of calamity is not defined by what we were but who we are shown to be when the ordeal is over. It is a reminder that what stands between the mountains is not space or the yawning chasm but the chance to grow beyond what is real at the time.
The Mountain Between Us benefits greatly for the lack of actors on screen for the vast majority of the screen time available, with nothing to detract from the situation that the two unfortunate travellers find themselves in, the audience is drawn to them more as individuals coming together to overcome the odds than if there was the overused flashback in which to drive home the message of exactly what the two were missing.
By playing the film as stark reminder of what we have to gain rather than what we can lose, the story opens up with tender care, the brutality of the situation is one that we would almost certainly never face, one that we would not even contemplate if not for films such as The Mountain Between Us or the compelling Alive.
When the film does revert to the thought of overcrowding, the parties, the hospitals and the restaurant scenes, it brings together the thought of further isolation, the way in which we seek company not as a reassurance of our worth but to hold back our own imagination, to stop us from listening to our own gut or reason. The juxtaposition between the two is highlighted with the initial scenes involving the excellent Beau Bridges, the pilot of the aircraft that leads them to their self discovery. In this cramped environment we have two choices, one that American Psychologist Abraham Maslow would quote as, “We can step forward into growth or step back into safety.”
A film that is remarkable for the situation it puts its two lead actors through, a combination of fear of the unknown that comes through in Ms. Winslet’s acting ability with subtle framing with style and method. The Mountain Between Us may not be the finest film of the year but it is arguably one of the most emotionally demanding of cinematic releases, a sense of purity and not giving into the inevitable, the human spirit prevailing; sometimes it is in the inspirational that we can see ourselves overcoming even the slightest of tests.
Ian D. Hall