Kate Winslet and Idris Elba in The Mountain Between Us: ‘an odd misfire’. Photograph: Kimberley French/AP
Idris Elba, Kate Winslet and a giant, snowy mountain: what’s not to love? Free-spirited photojournalist Alex (Winslet) has been “shooting neo-Nazis for the Guardian”, and is getting married in the morning, straitlaced brain surgeon Ben (Elba) has to operate on a dying 10-year-old the next day, they’re stuck in Salt Lake City airport and all flights have been grounded. The pair buddy up and persuade a charter pilot to fly them across a mountain range, despite an impending storm. They pile into the plane, Alex practically hanging out of the window trying to snap pictures while Ben plays Candy Crush, dressed in a cashmere sweater and inappropriately suave camel coat.
Inevitably, the plane crashes, leaving them freezing and stranded, with only the pilot’s golden retriever to keep them company. But then disaster movie warps into schmaltzy romance, an odd misfire that ends up being inadvertently hilarious (especially the wacky, wish fulfilment ending). Despite the couple’s supposed life or death scenario, the stakes feel low, with writers J Mills Goodloe and Chris Weitz throwing every snow-related hazard possible at the unlikely pair. A broken leg, hypothermia, a mountain cougar and a bear trap are no match for Ben, gifted with the face of a Hollywood hero and the survival skills of Bear Grylls, who solves every problem with serial killer-like preparation. The Mountain Between Us builds towards a tame romance that left me wondering what kind of film it might have been if the studio had the courage to make a straight romantic comedy starring Winslet and Elba, who are above this parodic material.
Watch the trailer for The Mountain Between Us.