Journalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is eager to get home for her wedding the next day, but her flight has been canceled due to an oncoming storm. Meanwhile, neurosurgeon Ben Bass (Idris Elba) is in a similar situation, anxious to get back to New York City to perform surgery on one of his patients. With no other options, the two strangers decide to charter a private flight. However, their pilot, Walter (Beau Bridges), experiences a stroke mid-flight and the plane comes crashing down in the middle of the snow-covered mountains. Alex’s leg is injured in the crash, and it will take some time before she will be able to walk on it. And, to make matters worse, Walter never filed a flight plan, so there is no one coming to look for/rescue them.
Alex is a tough, inquisitive free spirit, whose job has taken her to many war-torn locations. She’s talkative and asks a lot of questions. Meanwhile, Ben is much more reserved, and not very forthcoming when it comes to his personal life. He likes to think things through logically, and plan everything out before taking action. These two strangers must quickly learn to work together in order to survive the harsh elements as they struggle to find a way down the mountain and back to civilization. While new dangers await them around every corner, the stress of the situation brings them closer together, awakening passions and love that wasn’t there when they first met. Alex maintains that she is eager to reunite with fiance Mark (Dermot Mulroney), but are the feelings she’s having for Ben true, and will she allow herself to act on them? And will love be enough to help both Alex and Ben survive this harrowing ordeal?
The Mountain Between Us, which is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, has two main aspects to it. First, it is an engaging story of survival as Ben and Alex struggle with the bitter cold and other natural threats as they try to make their way to safety. The plane crash scene is quite exciting—it was filmed as a single shot, winding back and forth through the cabin as the tail splits off. It feels like you are right in there with the characters, experiencing all of the excitement of this terrifying moment along with Ben and Alex. For the mountain trekking and survival, the film’s creators shot much of the film in practical locations/sets, and this really helps add a layer of realism to the film. You see the dangers and extreme temperatures being experienced by Alex and Ben, and can empathize with their situation. I found the struggle to survive aspect of this film to be incredible, filled with lots of suspense, drama and excitement. Also, the setting was beautiful, despite the dangers it held for the characters.
The other main aspect of the film, the love story, didn’t work quite as well for me. While I see why the character of Ben might be falling for Alex, and that’s his motivation for going to extreme lengths to save her, I didn’t get the same feeling from the other side of the relationship. The audience is not given enough information about the relationship between Alex and her fiance Mark—how long they’ve been together, what type of guy Mark is, how they met, what their home life is like, etc.—to know why Ben might be worth throwing everything away for (assuming she survives), particularly since she and Mark had planned to get married the day this ordeal began. Is Alex falling in love with Ben solely due to the the extreme circumstances she is in? Or could a genuine relationship still exist between them if/when they survive? There appears to be genuine feelings forming between these characters over the course of the film, but I just had a tough time rooting for Alex and Ben to find love without really knowing the circumstances surrounding her current relationship. That said, I think both performances were excellent, with both Idris Elba and Kate Winslet really conveying the range of emotions these characters go through over the course of their ordeal. The majority of the film involves just these two actors, and they have great chemistry together.
The Blu-ray looks and sounds amazing. The stunning blue skies and white mountains are captured beautifully and in great detail on this Blu-ray. The colors are vivd both in the daytime with the bright sun beaming down on the frozen snow, as well as in darker scenes lit by the orange glow of firelight. The soundtrack brings out the ambiance, surrounding the viewer with the sounds of a crowded airport, the tearing of metal as the plane crashes, the frigid winds, or the crackling of the fire. The release includes both a Blu-ray and a DVD disc, packed in a standard HD keepcase along with a cardboard slipcover and the Digital Copy redemption instructions. Both discs contain the same selection of bonus material—a director commentary on the film, deleted scenes, trailer, photo gallery and about 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes with the cast and crew.
- 1080p / Widescreen 2:39:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1, Urdu Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Simplified), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
- Subtitles (Commentary): English, Spanish, French, Korean
- 480p / Anamorphic Widescreen 2:39:1
- Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Subtitles (Commentary): English, Spanish, French
Digital HD (Code May Not Be Valid After 2019):
- Digital HD copy redeemable via iTunes, Movies Anywhere, Google Play, or Vudu
(While it defaults to Movies Anywhere, we recommend redeeming directly via iTunes instead so that you receive a free 4K upgrade in iTunes should one eventually become available—the HD version will also be added to your Movies Anywhere account by iTunes and will propagate to any other services you have linked to your Movies Anywhere account.)
- Love and Survival: Creating Chemistry (12:42)
The cast and filmmakers discuss adapting the original novel, making an epic love story, working with the director, the characters, the cast, and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with author Charles Martin, producers David Ready, Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping, director Hany Abu-Assad, executive producer Fred Berger, and stars Kate Winslet (“Alex”), Idris Elba (“Ben”), Beau Bridges (“Walter”) and Dermot Mulroney (“Mark”).
- Mountain Between Them: Shooting in Isolation (10:17)
The cast and filmmakers talk about benefits and challenges of using practical sets and locations rather than CG and green screen. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with producers David Ready and Peter Chernin, director Hany Abu-Assad, author Charles Martin, production designer Patrice Vermette, location manager Robin Mounsey, art director Cheryl Marion, and stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet.
- The Wilds: Survival Stunts (5:47)
The cast and filmmakers talk about the cast doing their own stunts, plus behind-the-scenes looks at filming the plane crash, Ben sliding down the mountain, and Alex falling into the ice. Includes interviews with director Hany Abu-Assad, stunt coordinator Dan Shea, executive producer Fred Berger, second assistant director Philip Nee Nee, art director Cheryl Marion, and stars Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, and Beau Bridges.
- Deleted Scenes (14:15)
Collection of 7 deleted scenes with optional director’s commentary by Hany Abu-Assad. Play All or select from “Ben Secures Tarp”, “Alex Digs Quinzhee”, “Ben Dreams of Alex”, “The Ice Dome”, “Ben Exercises Alex’s Arm”, “Sled Sequence”, “Hospital Hallway”.
- Gallery (2:03)
Manually advance through this gallery of 24 behind-the-scenes photos, or allow the slideshow auto-advance every 5 seconds.
- Audio Commentary with Director Hany Abu-Assad (1:51:49)
Director Hany Abu-Assad opens his first-ever audio commentary by giving a history of how the film came about. Throughout the rest of the commentary he talks about the motivations of the characters in each scene while also providing some interesting behind-the-scenes stories and explaining his filming and production choices.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:14)
- Sneak Peek (7:18)
Play All, or select from trailers for “The Greatest Showman”, “Battle of the Sexes”, and “Hidden Figures”.
The Mountain Between Us is a thoroughly exciting and entertaining tale of love and the struggle to survive the elements as two strangers find themselves trapped in the middle of a snowy mountain, with no help on the way. Much of the film relies on scenes solely between Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, who both give captivating performances. The Blu-ray looks and sounds amazing, with some pretty spectacular views of nature. The release also includes a solid selection of bonus materials. Fans of the film with definitely appreciate the quality fo the presentation, while others looking for an entertaining adventure should not hesitate to check this out.