Romantic and survival obstacles in “The Mountain Between Us”


Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Pictures. Bass (Elba) considers whether to stay, in hopes of a rescue, or to abandon the plane in search of help.

Justin Chang, Staff Writer

“The Mountain Between Us,” a movie adaptation of Charles Martin’s novel, “The Mountain Between Us,” is about two strangers who are forced to work together after a deadly plane crash. The strangers, Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet), also share life experiences and complicated romantic encounters throughout their journey.

The film begins at the Salt Lake City airport, where Bass and Martin’s problems are introduced. Bass is a neurologist desperate to attend an emergency surgery in Baltimore the following day, and Martin is desperate to return home for her wedding the following day. The two decide to rent a charter plane, splitting the cost amongst themselves. Unfortunately, everything turns sour as the pilot suffers from a heart attack and crashes, leaving them lost in the wilderness.

The film presents strong chemistry between the characters, which helps the audience experience the characters’ emotional journey. Throughout the movie, audience members witness the romantic tension, personality clashes and emotions between Bass and Martin, further understanding their hopeless situation.

Surprisingly, unlike similar movies such as “Everest,” the “Mountain Between Us” uses minimal computer graphics (CG). According to director Hany Abu-Assad, most scenes were shot at the mountain tops of British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. Hour-long drives to base camp of the mountain and helicopter lifts to the top of the mountain were required in order to shoot most of the scenes. In addition, Elba and Winslet have said that filming on the mountain tops took place despite harsh weather conditions and temperatures dropping to -38 degrees Celsius. The authentic filming of many scenes definitely enhanced the realistic elements of a survival adventure.

I agree with film critics that “The Mountain Between Us’s” ending was quite abrupt and diverted attention from the entire ordeal, as the film then followed Bass and Martin reminiscing about their complex romantic encounter. Although being labeled as a romance and survival adventure film, it neither fully accomplishes the tasks of delivering a romantic or adventurous experience- the attention constantly wavers between the two topics. Nevertheless, “The Mountain Between Us” manages to convey emotions of fear, anger, perseverance, romance and trust between the two characters.