Hollywood@Home: The Mountain Between Us

Idris Elba and Kate Winslet star in the mountaintop romance, “The Mountain Between Us.”

It’s love, kisses and survival in the mountains of northeastern Utah. A photojournalist and a brain surgeon survive the crash of a small plane in the High Uintas Wilderness and must walk their way to safety while injured and fighting the elements. Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star in this unlikely romance based on the 2011 novel by Charles Martin.

Two travelers at the Boise airport are pressed for time and seek the services of a local private pilot (Beau Bridges) after their commercial airline flight to Denver is cancelled. The pilot agrees to fly Dr. Ben Bass (Elba) and Alex Martin (Winslet) to Colorado for $800. He tells them as they are preparing to leave that he’ll be flying VFR (visual flight rules) and won’t be filing a flight plan. That would be a red flag even to a novice traveler, especially with a major winter storm in the mix, but Bass and Martin withhold a protest. The pilot is sure he can navigate around the violent weather. But, the plane crashes onto a mountain after he suffers a stroke. Amazingly, the two passengers survive along with the pilot’s dog. After they become convinced that no rescue is forthcoming, Bass and Martin decide to hike their way to safety.

“The Mountain Between Us” asks its audience to swallow quite a bit of nonsense. It wants us to believe that two people fall in love while walking through a large wilderness area with life-threatening injuries after surviving an impossible plane crash. Thank goodness you have two talented actors in the lead roles, because there aren’t many other reasons to watch this absurd tale unfold. Elba and Winslet have a serviceable amount of onscreen chemistry, at least enough to hold your interest for most of the film’s 112-minute running time.

The survival aspects of this mountain adventure are less than satisfying. The plane crash was filmed at a very odd angle that was almost comical. The camera seems to be following the back of the plane like it was on a toboggan. I thought it was very odd.

The story makes good use of the pilot’s dog, adding some emotional gravitas to the proceedings, if you will. At least dog lovers have some incentive to stay with the story. Kudos to Walter’s dog, played by canine actors Raleigh and Winston.

The romance between the two leads is more sexual tension and strained emotions, than full-out passion. But, Elba and Winslet manage to bust it out before the end. The wait is more-or-less worth it, but the final moment of the film is pure Hollywood cliché. Grade: C

Kate Winslet and her dog in “The Mountain Between Us.”