Showing posts with label charles martin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charles martin. Show all posts

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.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review
In every life, there are mountains to be crossed.  For some, those mountains are physical.  In other cases, the challenges are emotional or relational.  For Ashley and Ben, in The Mountain Between Us, those mountains come in all three forms.  On the surface, their story appears to be one of wilderness survival, but as we delve deeper, we will see that it is really about crossing over into your own truth after braving the storms of life.

As the story begins, Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, and Ben Payne, a surgeon, are about to be stranded in Salt Lake City as all flights are being shut down by a massive storm system.  Ashley is desperate to get home for her wedding, while Ben has surgeries to perform.  Given the situation, the only option left to them is to charter a private flight around the line of growing storms.  The plan is to fly to Denver while there is still the possibility of making it home.

Mid-flight to Denver, their pilot has a heart attack and makes a crash landing in one of the most remote and rugged areas of the country (the High Uintas Wilderness of Utah).  To make matters worse, a flight plan was not required, so no one knows the whereabouts of these three passengers (or even that Ashley and Ben got on that plane).

Now, with their pilot dead, and Ashley seriously injured, Ben must figure out a way to keep both of them alive.  Stranded at a very high elevation in the midst of winter storms, without food or other necessary provisions, the odds are not good for them to make it.  Without hope of a search and rescue operation, their bleak situation will cause both Ashley and Ben to reflect on the things that matter most in life.  During their odyssey of searching for a way to survive, both will discover what it means to truly live and love.

There are many things I liked about this book.  First, I must admit that I am really into wilderness survival stories.  There is just something about rising up above your circumstances, no matter how bleak, that speaks to me.  Nobody survives a devastating accident without being changed in critical ways.  It is the story of that transformation that greatly appeals to me.  I think, too, that it is impossible not to insert yourself into the situation to reflect on how you would handle things, or be changed by such life-altering circumstances.  One of the things I enjoyed most about the story is how Ben uses the few things available to him in a MacGyver fashion.  It was interesting to see how he came up with creative solutions to daunting challenges.  In a life-or-death situation, I would want Ben Payne by my side.

I appreciate how author Charles Martin tells a story.  He makes me care about his characters and they become real to me.  Though this book has been newly released as a movie, I'm glad I chose to read the book first.  The reviews for The Mountain Between Us, in book form, are much better than those for the movie.  It seems that many moviegoers felt a disconnect between the two leading actors.  That is so different from what you will experience about the connection between Ashley and Ben in the book.  The two become very bonded, though neither character violates any promises made to spouse or fiance during their time together in the wilderness.

This is a good book to read during the holiday season.  It reminds us that love conquers all and that we can each climb and cross any mountain that rises up in our lives.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.