The Mountain Between Us Crashes and Burns

Still playing catch ups with life – the new job has thrown my posting cycle into turmoil – apologies!!

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is portrayed in trailers as a mountain survival film. Plane crash, lots of snow, the protagonists must save themselves or turn into gorgeous human popsicles. I was immediately sold on this movie. Winslet is one of my cinematic heroes, Elba not far behind, and who doesn’t love a survival movie in epic scenery? Right?

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US has been out for a little while now from 20th Century Fox. It is rated M and runs for 112mins.


The Mountain Between Us Idris Elba image
Idris Elba




Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers 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 hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing one another to endure and discovering strength they never knew possible.


The Mountain Between Us Kate Winslett image
Kate Winslet



Even 20th Century Fox sells this movie, based on the novel (of the same name) from Charles Martin, as a pure survival movie. What they failed to mention, sadly, was the schmaltzy Days of Our Lives styled romance movie that is dressed up as a harrowing survival movie. This is one of my biggest letdowns of the year (I am not watching THE SNOWMAN). It is one of the most beautiful movies of the year cinematically, the environment the cast and crew worked in to make this film is remarkable and it looks marvellous. But after the scenery and the fact the two leads are two of my favourites, the rest of the movie is dreadful. The movie changes from survival movie to romance movie about halfway through, bile roared up my throat in saccharine sweet romance rejection.

The movie is a paint-by-numbers waltz through death defying odds, one after another. There is next to no starvation, Kate’s character, Alex, has a ruined leg but she still manages to progress at a decent pace. Anything and everything that could happen to them does happen to them but they recover with ease from everything. My one greatest annoyance was that they didn’t eat the dog haha. If it had gone to a dark place of survival the romance would have had more meaning. I also suck for this suggestion because the dog was the best character in the story. The writing painted a very bland image of the two leads, I liked the two people because it was Kate and Idris, but seriously, I cared little for Alex and Ben (Idris’ character).


The Mountain Between Us Idris Elba image
Idris Elba



Originally the leads were meant to have been played by Margot Robbie and Michael Fassbender, that would have been another nail in his career coffin. Fassbender pulled out, so Robbie departed. Then it was Charlie Hunnam and Rosamund Pike – she left first and then Hunnam left. As much as I will take any excuse to see Hunnam naked again, his lack of personality onscreen would have buried this movie even further with a character already scribed so bland.

The screenplay was written by J. Mills Goodloe, his other notable films are THE AGE OF ADALINE, THE BEST OF ME, EVERYTHING EVERYTHING – his stories lean towards that of Nicholas Sparks territory. And that’s exactly what this – Sparks on Ice. But Goodloe fails with his characters in THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US making them two dimensional and more suited to day time soap operas. Hany Abu-Assad (OMAR) directs and his on-mountain filming is exceptional. The film opens fast, gives no time to meet the characters before he slams them into a mountain. This was fantastic and a very short role for Beau Bridges. The editing is great and what Abu-Assad got his cast to do in these conditions was impressive, although Kate is at home with cold and snow.

Cinematography from Australian, Mandy Walker, was stunning although the end scene with them looking to camera separately failed to achieve it’s goal and instead had the cinema laughing instead of ooooing and ahhhhing.

As for Kate and Idris – I am biased towards both of them but they did the best with what they had. Both characters failed to ignite and the romance was so wrong it ruined the movie for me.


The Mountain Between Us Kate Winslet and Idris Elba image
Kate Winslet and Idris Elba



If your Mum or Nan has read Mills and Boone over the years or still calls Nicholas Sparks the greatest author of all time then take them to this immediately. If you wanted to see a harrowing ALIVE-styled survival movie then watch ALIVE again or get your Kate fix with Leo on the TITANIC again. THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is buried under an avalanche of soap opera romance.




 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.