Monday, September 3, 2018

The Mountain Between Us - Movie Review

The Mountain Between Us on DVD.
As soon as I had seen the trailers for The Mountain Between Us I knew I wanted to see the movie. Survival stories based in the wilderness and extreme conditions are some of my favorite tales. I missed seeing the movie at the theater but finally had a chance to watch it on DVD this weekend. 


The Mountain Between Us 


The movie was based on the book of the same title by Charles Martin. In the movie version, Alex and Ben (two strangers) are stuck at an airport in Salt Lake City and are desperate to fly out. Ben (Idris Elba) is a surgeon and has a surgery the next day and Alex (Kate Winslet) is on her way to her wedding in New York. Alex had overheard Ben talking about his need to get home to Baltimore for this surgery but all flights are cancelled. She has an idea - they'll grab a flight out on a small private plane.

The charter plane pilot agrees to fly them out quickly to get them to Denver ahead of the storm. The pilot, his dog, Alex, and Ben head out - crossing the High Unitas Wilderness area.

The pilot has a stroke in flight and they crash in the mountaintops. Ben, Alex, and the dog survive the crash.

Much of the movie involves Ben and Alex trying to determine which choices to make in order to give them a better chance at survival; stay with the wreckage or try to walk out, etc. The cold, the rugged terrain, lack of food and water, and the mountain lion that views them as food are all barriers to their success. Alex has a broken leg, which doesn't help matters. 



Comparing the Book Versus the Movie


I read the book before I saw the movie. Many times I will read the book and avoid the movie but in this case I wanted to see the setting and the scenery. I also wanted to see some of the events that I had imagined in my head. 

For an excellent review of the book you can read Renaissance Woman's book review. I very much agree with what she had to say about the character development. We fell in love with the characters. All of them. Even the pilot and his dog, Tank. We rooted for all of them, for Ben especially, as he tried to MacGyver his way to rescue.

Movies usually deviate from the book. In this case, the movie version changed Ashley's name to Alex. Also, movies are always more condensed so important "scenes" are always left out and time seems shorter. I expected that. However, in the movie version, the plot came across as a long walk down a large hill. Compared to the book, which was literally a moment-by-moment fight for survival.

In the movie version, Alex/Ashley was not critically injured as she was in the book. I found myself wondering if Hollywood was attempting to make Ashley a stronger woman. I found myself thinking the opposite. In the book, even critically wounded and on deaths door she was a stronger presence than she was in the movie.

I do like Kate Winslet. And I thought her role was well-acted. I have no complaints about her portrayal of the character and I believed her. I just think the book version of Ashley was a better character.

The details of the endings (book and movie) were very different but the final outcome was the same. In the book, I personally thought threads of the outcome came together a little more clumsily than the first 90% of the book. I liked the ending - it was unexpected and an "aha!" moment that suddenly made so much sense. It just seemed slightly choppy.  I loved how the ending of the movie occurred. It was at that moment that the acting was the best. We cared most about Alex(Ashley) and Ben at that point in the movie. More than we did when they were walking their way down the mountain. The movie ending left the extremely important final setting of the book ending out. In a perfect world the final chapters of the book and the ending of the movie would be combined.  I hope that makes sense. I don't want to give away the ending of the book.

I enjoyed both the book and the movie, but if you are choosing one over the other, I recommend the book. But don't just take my word for it. Renaissance Woman recommends the book - and as always her recommendations are spot on. 

I can tell you with certainty, I will be adding more books by Charles Martin to my reading list. I am glad to have been introduced to this author.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very interesting movie. I for one love to read the book before, I watch the movie.

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  2. I have often read the book only and skipped the movie because, if the book is well-written, I prefer to have the author's original impression of the story and the characters rather than the Hollywood version of same. But sometimes the scenery, as you described, is well worth seeing the movie too. Very good movie review, Dawn.

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  3. What a very enlightening review! I really, really hate it when Hollywood takes a wonderful book and turns it into a "less than" movie. I especially hate it when they try to force some social agenda, like a strong woman image that is not necessary to be viewed as a strong woman. I tend to prefer books, but like Brenda Marie above said, if I love the book, I am going to watch the movie. Then I will most likely get ticked off that they messed with the plot or the characters too much. Thanks for reviewing this movie for us Dawn. I would have been tempted to watch the movie and skip the book if you hadn't written this review.

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  4. Oh I am so like you, I like reading the books first and then seeing the movie. Sometimes the movie is a disappointment, as I'm sure my imagination with reading adds something to the story. But I'm glad to know this movie is still worthwhile to see. I'm putting it on my list of "must see" and "must read". Thanks to you and Renaissance Woman for this wonderful review.

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  5. Well that settles it, I have to watch this movie. I probably won't read the book (time), but you have me curious about the ending. You've certainly peeked my interest with this review! Sounds very good.

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  6. Books first here :), will add this to the list :)

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