Idris Elba gets romantic in ‘The Mountain Between Us’

“I hadn’t done a romantic lead yet so found it appealing,” shares the Golden Globe and SAG winning actor.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

He’s well-known for his intense role on the BBC series “Luther” and in films such as “Beasts of No Nation” and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” but for Elba, who plays a crash victim stranded in the deserted snow-capped mountains of Utah, this film was quite the departure for him.

“The story and the extreme circumstances these two people find themselves in was very appealing to me,” he says. “It felt like something I could dramatically really get my teeth into. Also, I hadn’t done a romantic lead yet so found it appealing.”

This survival yarn in which a pair of plane-crash victims struggle to find help sustains some suspense and a dark atmosphere for the first forty minutes, but eventually the clichés of the characters and the predictability of the drama drag it severely down.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

The film stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs,” “The Reader”), as a couple of extremely accomplished individuals, who decide to charter a plane after a storm forces the cancellation of their flights. Alex (Winslet) is due to get married in 24 hours and Ben (Elba) a skilled British neurosurgeon is due back on the East Coast to perform a critical, life-saving operation. The unlikely strangers join forces and charter a small plan to Denver in hopes of connecting to their respective destinations from there, but when their pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) suffers a stroke, the craft crashes in the deep snows of the Uinta Mountains in northeastern Utah and their mission becomes a quest to survive. Trapped in the remote region with meager supplies that include four individual packs of almonds and a couple of candy bars, the two (three if we count Walter’s dog) embark on a transformative trip across the vast, rugged terrain to find help and fall in love along the way.

“It examines the concept that there’s no perfect scenario to meet someone you’re going to fall in love with,” the Golden Globe and SAG winning actor adds. “In fact, sometimes the most extreme scenarios become a better place to understand if you can love someone or not because you’re facing them in a circumstance that isn’t comfortable.”

The most primal story Hollywood can tell; this is not a gritty realistic survival film and is as predictable as a funeral. It’s pretty convenient Elba’s character is a skilled doctor, and Winslet is a talented photojournalist, for her camera lens and his medical skills are certainly put to good use. With his medical training, he saves her life after she is injured in the crash and with her long lens camera, she’s able to find an abandoned cottage where they eventually seek refuge and swap relationship stories while sharing a can of soup.

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Both are engaging actors, but there’s nothing memorable about this soppy love story which clocks in at 100 minutes and follows the duo fall in love after four weeks while battling sub-zero temperatures, hunger and hygiene.

“The Mountain Between Us” is many things: a meditation on human nature, a tale of survival, and a love story, but overall, it’s a glum, frozen fray which will appeal to Elba’s fans, but all others beware.

Check out the trailer below:

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