Harrowing Journey of Survival

Would you prefer white or dark meat for dinner?

My apologies Dear Reader as I have advanced myself far a bit too far into this review … but suffice to say by the end of this theatrical appraisal (or watching this week’s eclectic offering) you too will be asking what’s for dinner.

Or at least if there will be any mushroom sauce offered on the side. The film is “The Mountain Between Us” and it is a harrowing journey of survival. Here is the official synopsis: “Stranded on a mountain after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must work together to endure the extreme elements of the remote, snow-covered terrain. Realizing that help is not on the way, they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing each other to survive and discovering their inner strength.”

In it, we meet our two main performers: Ben Bass (Idris Elba from “Thor”) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet from “Titanic”) who are true polar opposites. Bass is a surgeon (who has been attending a medical conference) and must be in Baltimore the following morning where is slated to lead his hospital team in an emergency “life or death” operation.

When he arrives at the Boise airport ticket counter, Bass is willing to do anything to head east to make his surgical appointment.

Enter Ms. Martin who is likewise is desperate to get out of Idaho as she is getting married the following day. Both unlikely traveling companions then decide to do the really stupid thing of chartering an airplane from Walter (Beau Bridges) a drunk, cranky airplane pilot, who doubles as a ”fix it man” of single engine aircraft.

You can trust me Dear Reader when I say you would not be getting any airline frequent flyer mileage from this old coot! So, jetting off from their Idaho airfield …  all seems well.

Martin is a journalist who conveniently shoots off rapid fire questions of Bass, hence providing the much need back story as our daring duo gently glide past the luscious snowcapped Rocky Mountains.

Oh, you just know what’s coming next folks! Brace for impact (at least on the sound stage where this was filmed) when Walter nose dives the aircraft onto one of the highest mountaintops in America.

Bass and Martin survive the impact only to find themselves trapped at the top of the world where there is no cell phone reception, no food (well, we will get to that in a moment) and no water.

It’s not like they can ski their way down to safety. Martin severely injured her leg in the crash and the options for survival are few …  stay on top of the mountain for search and rescue to possible find them … or start walking.

A long way down. Did I mention that Walter just happened to bring along his pet golden retriever?

What a nice man because if you or I, Dear Reader, were stuck on that self-same mountain, the dog would be the first thing to be barbequed.

Personally, I prefer a slice of dark meat. Hey, meat is meat right? Then we find out good ol Water never filed a flight plan, so no search and rescue will be forthcoming. You can live about three weeks without food and only a few days without water.

Melted snow works fine for that and the dog is a walking grocery store. With fur. Vancouver, British Columbia doubles for Boise, Idaho with studio filming completed in Elba’s home town of London. Director Hany Abu-Assad (“Omar”) is a competent enough director to keep things moving along but folks, this has all been seen before.

Clearly there are no new ideas in Hollywood. A much better “surviving on top of a mountain” adventure came along in 1993 in “Alive” which told the true story of the surviving members of a Uruguayan rugby team that was stranded in the Andes Mountains for 72 days.

Eventually they were forced into cannibalism and ate their dead teammates to survive. Which is why having dog on the menu seemed most practical for a Sunday dinner in the mountains.

“The Mountain Between Us” is a quasi-love story of the two most unlikely travel companions. Be in still by a cozy fire inside a remote cave or chilling out (pun intended) inside what was left of their airplane, Bass and Martin seemed destined for one another. Please pass the gravy!

Questions, comments or travel suggestions, write me at

TAGS: dogs, ice, movie, ticket, will
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