Trying something new with the format – let me know what you think…
Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers (Kate Winslet, Idris Elba) must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness aided only by what little food and water they have left as well as an adorable Golden Retriever.
Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are wonderful actors and are able to rise above almost any kind of weaker material. Though they may not get amazing things to say nor do they do anything all that surprising, it is their conviction that gets the audience through the material by sheer talent alone. Elba is the calming presence that Winslet’s more heart-on-her-sleeve character needs and vice-versa.
The cinematography is breathtaking. From the lush snowscapes to even the shots of the city before the crux of the plot occurs, it is simply a marvel to behold.
There are a couple of decent turns from Beau Bridges as a friendly pilot who initially agrees to fly Elba and Winslet home through some nasty weather as well as Dermot Mulroney but I won’t reveal his role as it may spoil some of the film.
While the supense isn’t as high as it should be, there are a couple of tense scenes particularly one involving a stand-off between the accompanying dog and a vicious mountain lion but stuff like that is way too infrequent and what we get instead are mostly long hiking scenes with the occasional suspenseful moment like the ice-breaking bit.
The romance that blooms (come on, you know it was coming) is only a pro because it’s being acted out by two tremendous performers. It was believable though that two people like this would have a growing affection for each other (and that’s not even necessarily in the romantic sense) but with any other actors, this may have been under “cons.”
Some of the dialogue is VERY on-the-nose. For instance, there is a scene where Elba explains that he is a neurosurgeon because he enjoys the logical mathematics that operate within the brain. When Winslet questions why not the heart, he responds that it’s just a muscle and doesn’t dictate what we say or do. That kind of cringey dialogue shows up more than a few times.
The film’s pacing is sometimes a bit uneven. We do get some long hiking scenes with not a lot going on but there is enough sprinkled throughout that we don’t get bored as an audience for too long.
The ending goes for far too long. I won’t get into more detail than that but I will say it should’ve wrapped up about 5-10 minutes quicker. Actually, the last chunk of the movie really isn’t all that great in general.
Less than * (Actively offensive to one’s intelligence)
* (Brutal; bottom-of-the-barrel)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)