Review: Love in a Cold Climate in ‘The Mountain Between Us’
To watch the magnetic Idris Elba trudge through a monumental dud like “The Mountain Between Us” is almost physically painful. Paired with an aloof Kate Winslet — with whom he has less chemistry than he did with Wood Harris, who played his business partner on “The Wire” — he works very hard to appear oblivious to the script’s many idiocies. He does not succeed.
A disaster movie by any definition, this sappy adaptation of Charles Martin’s 2010 novel places Ben (Mr. Elba), a melancholy neurosurgeon, on a charter plane to Denver with Alex (Ms. Winslet), a supremely irritating photojournalist. Having joined forces when their commercial flight from Idaho was grounded by a storm, the two are further dismayed when their folksy pilot (Beau Bridges) suffers a stroke and smashes them into a snowy peak. Now they have to rescue not just themselves, but the pilot’s golden Labrador — which has no name and, apparently, no appetite.
Caught between the harsh demands of a survival story and the emotional beats of a romantic drama, the director, Hany Abu-Assad, grabs hold of neither. As the pair traipse to safety, artifice rules: A cougar is dispatched with shameless ease; an abandoned cabin manifests just in time to save a life and — almost three weeks into their ordeal — allow the couple to enjoy what is almost certainly malodorous sex. I half expected them to discover the fixings for a full English breakfast.
On the upside, the frozen landscapes (shot in Canada by Mandy Walker) are lovely, and the dog is adorable. It’s incredible that neither one of our starving lovers thought to eat it.