Plot: Alex (Kate Winslet) is supposed to be married soon, but she is likely to miss her own wedding, as weather has all but shut down travel. At the same time, surgeon Ben (Idris Elba) is desperate to get on the road as well, as he has an emergency surgery on the horizon, but finds himself stranded. Alex overhears his situation and offers a potential solution, as the two can pool funds and charter a small plane, which could leave just before a total airport shutdown. Soon enough, the pair head out on a small plane with quirky pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) and his faithful dog. It looks as if both will be able to make their important destinations after all, at least until the weather shifts and the plane faces some rough skies. In a tragic turn of events, Walter has a stroke mid-flight and despite Ben’s best efforts, the plane goes out of control and crash lands, killing Walter in the process. Alex is alive, but badly injured, while Ben and the dog seem to be mostly unharmed. Surrounded by harsh mountains and short on supplies, can the trio manage to somehow survive?
Entertainment Value: This is a premise we have seen before, a plane crash strands some folks in the harsh wilds and they struggle to survive. But The Mountain Between Us doesn’t dwell on the literal survival aspect much, things like food, water, and such are not the focus. Instead this is more of a character piece that happens to take place in brutal conditions, as our leads attempt to survive the elements, each other, and even themselves. I found the performances to be good from both Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, who have to carry most of the movie on their own. While the acting is quite good, I just couldn’t connect with either of the characters, neither was likable or made me want to root for them. I sense that the filmmakers knew this as well, which is why we have the dog as such a massive presence. His silly, wonderful face and unending optimism is what makes you want this group to survive, without the dog, the movie is just two unlikable people. I also found the last act to be slow and unneeded, as it feels shoehorned in and out of place within the rest of the narrative. Despite my dislike for the characters, the movie is still a solid watch and if nothing else, proves once again the immortal charm of our canine friends.
No nakedness. Just one sex scene and it teases some skin, but keeps things just out of sight. Given the PG-13 rating, this is no surprise. A little blood, mostly wounds and injuries, so nothing too graphic. I do have to mention one special effect however, as a cougar makes an appearance and in one sequence, is replaced by some of the most outlandish CGI I’ve ever seen. It was as if Disney put a cartoon cat in the middle of this otherwise serious movie, just a massive mistake that removes all tension from the scene, in my opinion. The dialogue is fine and well written, but does little to make us like or root for the characters. No real quotable lines or fun, over the top moments either, just a few small jokes that land. So well written and well performed, but not the kind of stuff you remember for long. In terms of craziness, aside from the cartoon cougar, this one keeps a serious tone and never goes wild. Not a surprise since this is a serious, mainstream movie, so I can’t complain much.
Overall Insanity: 1/10 (in honor of the slapdash CGI cougar)