6/10 “The Mountain Between Us” could have been a great film but it falls into some cliché Hollywood traps that bog it down and prevent it from achieving anything more than being alright. There is quite a bit to like in this movie. For the entirety of when our two leads are trapped in the wilderness after their plane crashes, the movie could have been boring. Characters sitting still, talking and walking and not much else. However, all the wilderness scenes grab your attention, keep you engaged, never drag and keep the tension and the stakes high. That is a challenging thing to pull off but the movie does it very well. The two lead actors do a fine job. They won’t get Oscar nominations but they definitely keep us interested and play their roles well. The production aspects like editing, visual effects, etc. do well and the cinematography in particular stands out. The score was forgettable but not bad (although the end credit song was noticeably awful). There isn’t much of a production design or costume design seeing as how the majority of the movie is two people stranded out in the middle of nowhere. What is there is fine and the beautiful yet deadly scenery of the environment that our protagonists are trapped in is gorgeous and haunting at the same time. The problem comes in the final 20 or so minutes of the film when locations change. The pacing slows to a crawl once danger is eliminated and we start to lose interest. The film then falls into the typical, play it safe Hollywood ending which may make most audiences happy but it felt lazy and cliché to me. Characters also do really stupid things, which I know could very possibly happen, but still frustrates and you figure for our two characters being as smart as they are that they would be above that. Since Hollywood is generally too afraid to kill dogs in movies, the dog in the film survives a plane crash without so much as a single scratch on it, somehow stays well fed (though we never see it eating) and survives a run in with a wild animal that it surely would have died. Everything about the dog in the movie was stupid and was just there to lighten up the mood. The film isn’t the most memorable and there are some aspects to like here but the ending of the film and some unrealistic moments hurt the movie in the end. Definitely worth a rental if you haven’t got anything else to watch, but skip it in theaters and keep your expectations in check.
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