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Mountain Between Us, The


Stars: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney, Lucia Walters, Waleed Zuaiter

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

An initially mismatched couple find love the hard way.

Doesn't that sound like the tried-and-true plotline of a second feature rescued from well-deserved slumber in the vaults of 1950s Hollywood B features?

Surely, they don't make films like this any more? Except perhaps, for cliched, product hungry television.

The story - an initially mismatched couple finds love while facing death at every turn - is straight out of vintage (and not so vintage) Hollywood melodramas and only a total celluloid virgin could fail to figure see where this glossy blend of romance and battle for survival was going.

For a start Chris Weitz and J. Mills Goodloe's screenplay, based on a bestseller (is there any other type of book making it into movies these days?) patently signals a happy ending early on while director Hany Abu-Assad (Oscar-nominated for Paradise Now and Omar) wastes no time with opening credits and instead segues straight into the story which has photographer Winslet stranded at Idaho Airport and, determined to be there for her upcoming wedding the next day, hires a small plane to fly her to New York.

And, generously, she gives British neurosurgeon Elba a lift which, considering their two-seater aircraft (with owner Bridges's faithful dog in the co-pilot's seat) crashes when the pilot has a stroke, is less than lucky since lthe couple are now stranded in the deep snows of Utah's Unita Mountains...Cue a storyline that strands the stars in hostile surroundings and suffering mounting (or should that be mountain?) suspense as they battle through snowbound wastes to reach civilization while facing everything from animal traps to a savage cougar and Winslet falling through the ice into a freezing lake...

Elba’s medical background turns out to be helpful, too, when he helps Winslet ('I don't want to die!' to pass water and survive with a broken leg.

Fortunately, Winslet and Elba's convincing performances give the predictable story and signalled happy ending surprising and unexpected cinematic credibility, aided and abetted by Hany Abu-Assad's vivid use of well-chosen Canadian locations and Mandy Walker's atmospheric cinematography.

Eminently forgettable, perhaps, but also an unexpectedly enjoyable blast from the past-style date movie.

Alan Frank

USA 2017. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 22 Oct 2017