The Mountain Between
by Tony Medley
Runtime 118 minutes
This is Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
(1967) updated for the 21st Century. When two people,
photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslett) and skilled British
neurosurgeon Ben Bass (Idris Elba) find that their plane to New York
from Idaho has been cancelled due to a bad storm, they charter a small
single engine prop plane to fly to Denver in the hopes of catching
another plane to New York. Well directed by
Hany Abu-Assad from a screenplay by Chris Weitz
based on a novel by Charles Martin, the plane crashes on the top
of a snow-capped mountain miles and miles from civilization.
While this story strains credulity to
the breaking point, itís a feel-good, heart-warming tale that even has a
loveable dog in almost every scene. Itís pure Hollywood schmaltz.
There are some truly amazing things that
these two sophisticated city people do. Like just about every time they
need it, Ben builds a fire. Iíve never been stranded on the top of a
snow-capped mountain, but I would think that one of the hardest things
to do in that situation would be to a) find something to burn, b)
actually start the fire, c) and keep it burning for hours. But thatís
about the first thing Ben does after the crash is start a fire somehow
in the inside of the crashed plane to keep them warm. And as they
progress throughout the film in their quest to save themselves, they
keep making fires, and the fires magically keep burning while they sleep
by them without anyone adding anything to them and without the fire
burning them up while they are asleep. Neither ever stays awake to tend
Thereís more, but I won't bore you with
details. They'll smack you in the face when you see the movie.
I hate to be so unromantic and realistic
to trash this movie for being, well, unrealistic even by Hollywood's
loose standards, but I think that Abu-Assad could have made the film
just a teeny bit more true to life. For one thing he should have
eschewed a falling through the ice scene that was truly absurd, if
On the positive side, everything seen
was filmed on location. There was no green screen used on this film. The
actors were helicoptered in every day and they actually filmed in the
-30į weather, at least thatís what the editor claimed at my screening.
The acting is very good.
Of course the story is that these are
two dissimilar people who find themselves stranded together. They argue
and persevere and eventually romantic feelings bloom their disturbing
heads as they are trying to survive.
As to my opening sentence, the title
refers not to the mountain on which they crashed, but the mountain of
race as she is white and he is black. This is basically a soap opera
asking the question, Can true love overcome that mountain?
I know this sounds like I didnít like
it, but thatís not true. I enjoyed it because I just turned off my sense
of reason and enjoyed it as much as I would a Donald Duck or Pepť Le Pew
cartoon or a James Bond movie. I told myself to lighten up; this is a