|Directed by||:||Hany Abu-Assad||Produced by||:||Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, David Ready||Based on||:||The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin||Starring||:||Idris Elba, Kate Winslet||Production company||:||Chernin Entertainment, Fox 2000 Pictures||Country||:||United States|
The Mountain Between Us review – Kate Winslet and Idris Elba heat up snowy romance
One of the many problems with the overstuffed awards season we’re now entering is that films with some element of prestige, at least on paper, are judged solely on their Oscar potential. The Mountain Between Us has been viewed from the outset as a major contender. There’s the pairing of Kate Winslet and Idris Elba – check. The director Hany Abu-Assad, whose credits include two Oscar-nominated films – check. Based on a book – check. A premiere at the Toronto film festival – check. A fall release date – check. Oh, and a story that plays into the Academy’s adoration of stories about survival – check.
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But entering the cinema with such lofty expectations does the film a major disservice. If judged through the lens of how Oscar-worthy it is, then it’s a non-starter (which might explain some sniffy early reviews) but as an unpretentious and unashamedly mainstream romantic adventure, it’s a solidly entertaining diversion, old-fashioned in its no-frills brand of storytelling and direction.
Alex (Kate Winslet) is a photojournalist, on assignment for the Guardian, in a rush to get to her wedding. Ben (Idris Elba) is a surgeon in a rush to get to the operating room. But the pair find themselves grounded when a storm causes major delays and after a chance encounter, Alex hatches an unlikely plan: they will pay a local resident and charter a small aircraft over the snowy wilderness to Denver. Mid-air, tragedy strikes and their pilot has a stroke, causing them to crash. Both are injured, freezing and surviving on a small supply of ever-diminishing food. As they’re forced to rely on each other to get out alive, an attraction starts to grow.