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Movie Review

'The Mountain Between Us' is the perfect movie for date night

Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star in this compelling wilderness survival film with a romantic twist, writes Adam Smith

21 October 2017 - 00:00 By Adam Smith
Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star in 'The Mountain Between Us'.
Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star in 'The Mountain Between Us'.
Image: Supplied

Stow your tray tables, make sure your seats are in an upright position and prepare for romance and adventure.

The Mountain Between Us has dramatic action in its nerve-shredding plane crash, as well as a compelling love story. It might be the perfect movie for date night.

Based on the bestselling book by Charles Martin, it's about the ordeal of soon-to-be-married writer Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and handsome Dr Ben Bass (Idris Elba), two complete strangers who find themselves stranded at the airport after their flights are grounded during a snowstorm.

But with Alex's wedding set for the next day, and with Ben having patients he absolutely has to attend to, the pair decide to charter a small plane and a pilot.

It turns out to be a whopper of a mistake. After the tiny plane crashes high in the mountains, and with the pilot dead, the two realise that help is not coming and they must embark on a perilous journey across miles of wilderness, discovering strength they never knew they had. What, it asks, if your life depended on a stranger?

So, is the film a love story with a side order of chilly adventure, or an adventure with a compelling romance at its heart?

According to the film's veteran executive producer, it's both.

WATCH | The trailer for The Mountain Between Us

"It's a movie about survival, about two people being pushed to the edges of human tolerance," he says. "I don't think they could survive without falling in love."

Shooting the film was an endurance test. The production spent nearly two months filming in the Kootenays, a mountainous region of British Columbia in Canada, at an altitude of more than 3,000m and at temperatures that plunged to -38ºC.

For Winslet, shooting the film also involved being immersed into zero-degree water for a scene in which she plunges through an ice sheet, and having to sprint across some of the most challenging terrain of her career.

"Running through deep snow at altitude is horrible," she says. "It makes your chest just burn. Nothing can really prepare you for it."

If Winslet and Elba are the headline stars, the third is the spectacular, treacherous scenery, shot by cinematographer Mandy Walker in technically difficult circumstances.

''We want the audience to feel like they're on the journey. They're in a situation that's dangerous and harsh, but breathtakingly beautiful. You have to feel their experience and their fear," he said. - The Daily Telegraph


• The two stars and a dog go for a long walk in the mountains. Who thought this was a good idea? - Donald Clarke, Irish Times

• A perfect title for a movie in which neither the subzero temperature nor the romantic heat penetrates more than skin deep. - Peter Debruge, Variety

• At some point you start rooting for the elements to win out just to shut up these two characters. - Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times