The Mountain Between Us (film)
The Mountain Between Us is a 2017 American drama film directed by Hany Abu-Assad and written by Chris Weitz and J. Mills Goodloe, based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Charles Martin. It stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a surgeon and a journalist, respectively, who survive a plane crash, with a dog, and are stranded in High Uintas Wilderness with injuries and harsh weather conditions. The film premiered on September 9, 2017, at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 6, 2017, by 20th Century Fox.
|The Mountain Between Us|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Hany Abu-Assad|
|Based on||The Mountain Between Us|
by Charles Martin
|Music by||Ramin Djawadi|
|Edited by||Lee Percy|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$62.8 million|
After their flight is cancelled due to stormy weather, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) hire private pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) to get them to Denver for connecting flights to Alex's wedding in New York and Ben's emergency surgery appointment in Baltimore. Walter, who has not filed a flight plan, suffers a fatal stroke mid-flight, and the plane crashes on a mountaintop in the High Uintas Wilderness. Ben, Alex, and Walter's dog survive the crash with various injuries.
Alex thinks Ben has a better chance of finding help if he leaves her behind, but Ben refuses. Stranded for days with dwindling supplies, Alex grows skeptical that they will be rescued, although Ben wants to wait for help by the plane's wreckage. After arguing, Alex starts a lone descent down the mountain. Ben catches up and they make-up over past grievances.
Alex falls into freezing water near an abandoned cabin. They stay there for several days while Alex recuperates, and they have sex. Ben reveals that his wife died two years prior from a brain tumor. As Ben sleeps, Alex takes his picture. Later, she again asks Ben to leave her behind to find help. Ben initially agrees but soon returns; they press forward again.
The dog alerts them to a nearby timber yard. On their way toward it, Ben's leg gets caught in a bear trap. Alex cannot free him, but she reaches the yard and collapses in front of an approaching truck. Ben awakens in a hospital and goes to Alex's room, where he finds her with Mark (Dermot Mulroney), her fiancé. After a brief discussion, Ben leaves heartbroken. Some time after, Mark discovers Alex is no longer in love with him.
Ben and Alex go their separate ways after the hospital, with Ben keeping the dog. Alex tries calling Ben, but he ignores her calls until she sends him pictures of them on the mountain. This encourages Ben to call Alex. They meet at a restaurant, where it is revealed that Alex is now a part-time teacher, and Ben is a consultant at trauma clinics because his frostbitten hands have not recovered sufficiently for him to perform surgery. Ben says he did not call Alex because he thought she would be married; Alex says she could not go through with it because she fell in love with Ben. After leaving the restaurant, Ben admits to Alex that they survived because they fell in love. Alex dismisses her feelings and reminds Ben of something he said on the mountain: "the heart is just a muscle." They hug goodbye, but as they depart in opposite directions they run back to each other.
The project was first developed in January 2012, with Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo set to direct a script by J. Mills Goodloe. In August 2012, Scott Frank was hired to re-write the script. In November 2014, Hany Abu-Assad replaced Naranjo, and Chris Weitz was later hired to re-write the script.
Abu-Assad has said of the film, "I really didn’t see an epic love story against the background of survival, I think optimism and hope is crucial to survive. And to go on with your life even if you’ve had a lot of bad luck. So if you give (in) to the bad luck, you will die. (But) if you fight the bad luck, you have a better chance to survive and make your life better. This is very simple wisdom, yes? But still very crucial especially in these kind of days, when everybody feels entitled to their good luck."
The film went through several lead casting changes. In March 2012, it was announced that Michael Fassbender would star as Bass, but by September 2014, Fassbender dropped out due to a scheduling conflict, and Charlie Hunnam replaced him. Margot Robbie also came on board to star as Alex. In November 2014, Robbie dropped out of the project, and Rosamund Pike entered negotiations for the lead role. In December 2015, both Hunnam and Pike dropped out.
Principal photography started on December 5, 2016, in Vancouver, and continued until February 24, 2017. Elba and Winslet filmed scenes at the Vancouver International Airport on December 6, 2016; Elba also filmed scenes at the Abbotsford International Airport on December 7, 2016. Filming stopped for Christmas holidays, from December 20, 2016 to January 3, 2017.
Most of the filming took place in Canada, on the border of Alberta and British Columbia. Abu-Assad has described the locations as having very cold temperatures, and tough and harsh filming conditions. Many scenes were shot on a mountaintop, and he and the crew had to drive 40 minutes before reaching the film's base camp. When the weather was okay, they could board the helicopter to reach their destination along with their supplies.
German-Iranian composer Ramin Djawadi composed & conducted the music for the film. The official trailer for the movie was released with "Dusk Till Dawn" by Zayn and Sia as the official soundtrack. The score from the film is now released at Lakeshore Records.
The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, on September 9, 2017. The film was initially set for release in the United States on October 20, 2017 but was later moved up to October 6, 2017.
As of December 21, 2017[update], The Mountain Between Us has grossed $30.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $30.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $62.3 million, against a production budget of $35 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Blade Runner 2049 and My Little Pony: The Movie, and was expected to gross $11–12 million from 3,088 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to $10.1 million, finishing second at the box office, behind Blade Runner 2049 ($32.5 million). The film dropped 47% in its second weekend, making $5.7 million and falling to 5th.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 41%, based on 155 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Mountain Between Us may be too far-fetched for some viewers to appreciate, but it's elevated by reliably engaging performances from Idris Elba and Kate Winslet." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.
Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "an easily digestible love story-come-survival tale that tosses two excellent actors in the snow and lets them do their thing," before concluding that "what really helps Mountain overcome its far-fetched scenario is the pairing of Winslet and Elba, who know how to turn up the charm tenfold yet make Alex and Ben seem (mostly) like real people." Tim Grierson of ScreenDaily noted that the film "struggles to balance its life-or-death stakes with its far more florid love story," but added that "the considerable chemistry between Kate Winslet and Idris Elba certainly helps sell this tearjerker."
In his review for Variety, Peter Debruge described it as "a movie in which neither the subzero temperature nor the romantic heat penetrates more than skin deep." Also criticising the film, Steve Pond of TheWrap found it unnecessarily lengthy and said that "a love story cheapens the grand survival story." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized the central characters as "a couple of one-note personality-test types" with "zero romantic chemistry," and wrote that the script "actually tones down the howling outrageousness of Martin’s novel, which seems to miss the point. But, structurally, it’s the same junk. Problems pop out of nowhere and resolve themselves, while torturous motivations attempt to explain why characters would withhold basic information from one another for weeks..."
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