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Mountain Between Us, The
The Mountain Between Us is a romantic-drama from executive producers Fred Berger (La La Land) and Becki Cross Trujillo (Daredevil, The Lookout). The film stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba as two strangers whose lives become entwined with one another after a plane crash leaves both of them in the remote wilderness of a snowy landscape with their only hope for survival: each other.
Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) may have not known each other before that fateful plane crash flown by pilot Walter (Beau Bridges), but after crash-landing in a remote area, the two individuals (and a puppy which miraculously survives) become dependent on one another to brave the harsh environment. With no one else to turn to in the desolate snow, Ben and Alex begin to trek across the mountains together as they journey towards their unknown destination. As they come to know each other, a friendship and romance begins to blossom.
A huge part of the reason why this film works well in any measure is because of the chemistry and craft of both Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. Both deliver worthwhile performances which certainly elevate the somewhat unexceptional and conventional storytelling. Winslet and Elba deliver as the lead performers.
The film does have interesting stunts and CGI work in a few scenes. Given that this is primarily a romantic drama, it was a bit of a surprise to see some good work done for the action-oriented scenes (like the plane crash and some of the trekking across the outdoors landscape). It works well for the genre.
The film has some noteworthy productions aspects. The music score composed by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, Iron Man) is serviceable in the film and fits the mood. It's not amongst the best scores of the year, by any measure, but it's a decent score befitting the film.
The cinematography by Mandy Walker (Hidden Figures, Australia) is one of the strengths: this is a beautifully photographed film with vast outdoor landscapes. The production design by Patrice Vermette (Arrival, Sicario) is effective with regards to presenting the outdoors environments as well. Costumes are designed by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus (Hidden Figures, Chocolat).
Based on the novel by Charles Martin, The Mountain Between Us screenplay was written by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The story is unexceptional in bringing surprises or deeply woven depth to the characters and story. However, it does a acceptable job of crafting a modestly enjoyable romantic-drama storyline with a strong backdrop.
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now, Omar), The Mountain Between Us is a lightly entertaining and engaging film. While some of the scenes feel a bit more preposterous than others (for example, the dog in the film often seems barely bothered by being outdoors in the cold), the overall effect of the filmmaking is a enjoyable (if occasionally silly) ride. The film manages to excel primarily through the romance between Winslet and Elba's characters. The effort is a worthwhile one without ever crossing the barrier between mere entertainment and dramatic art.
The Mountain Between Us arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p high definition presentation. Presented in the original 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio, the film has a generally strong presentation with a decent 25 mbps encode. The film has strong colors and the clarity is generally satisfactory overall. While the film has some soft elements and some (very minor) banding in a few moments, it's still a worthy presentation. It could have benefited some from having a stronger encode rate but it's a acceptable presentation which will leave most viewers satisfied.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. This is a generally strong lossless audio presentation for the film. The surrounds aren't as heavily utilized as one might hope but given the film's mostly romantic-drama genre it isn't surprising the surround mixing is a little limited in scope. The clarity and depth is good (and that is one of the most important parts). Dialogue is clear and easy to understand.
Optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles are included. Optional English descriptive audio in 5.1 surround sound and Spanish/French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio is also included on the release.
Please Note: This release is a combo pack release including a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD.
Love and Survival: Creating Chemistry (HD, 13 min.) is a featurette about the film's setting/cold of the outdoors, production, story, and how the cast worked together on the film. This featurette includes behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew.
Mountain Between Them: Shooting in Isolation (HD, 10 min.) is about shooting outdoors in the cold snowy area, where they did most of the production. Though the production climate was certainly cold, the crew found ways to keep spirits lifted together. Features interviews with production team members and the director.
The Wilds: Survival Stunts (HD, 6 min.) is about the stunts of the film (especially the scene with the airplane crashing and how they made that sequence).
Deleted Scenes (HD, 14 min.) featuring optional directors commentary:
Ben Secures Tarp, Alex Digs Quinzhee, Ben Dreams of Alex, The Ice Dome, Ben Exercise's Alex's Arm, Sled Sequence, Hospital Hallway
Audio Commentary with director Hany Abu-Assad
Photo Gallery with several high quality production photograph stills taken during production of the film.
Sneak Peak: Other trailers for recent films by Fox.
The Mountain Between Us is a modestly entertaining romantic-drama featuring excellent performances from Kate Winslet and Idris Elba. The film is a decent audience-pleaser to experience on a rainy afternoon. It's not high-art but it fits the bill for a decent drama that entertains more than it falters.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.