Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.
It doesn’t take long for this film to take us into survival mode. In the opening scenes, a sense of frustration quickly mounts as Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and Dr. Ben Payne (Idris Elba) are being told their flights have been canceled. The critical issues are that Alex is going to miss her own wedding, and Ben, who is a doctor, is scheduled to perform a critical surgery that he doesn’t need to miss. As fate would have it, when they pool their resources together to get a personally chartered flight, the pilot suffers from a medical fatality mid-air and their lives begin a downward spiral as the plane crashes in the middle of the snow-covered mountains in the wilderness. When Alex is knocked out on impact for a few days, she awakes to find that Ben has taken care of her leg injury, and the pilot’s Labrador retriever, who doesn’t seem to care for Ben, is the only other survivor. At this defining moment, the two realize that each other is all they have, and they must work together if they plan on staying alive.
Alex starts out as the typical renaissance woman, whose work as a photographer has given her the upper hand in zooming in on the bigger picture and bringing things into focus. Ben starts out as the typical doctor who pays attention to detail and believes he can fix everything. Their personalities soon clash as they realize they must decrease some of their preconceived notions about one another in order to increase their chances of survival. As the story progresses, the unnamed dog becomes the mediator between them and Alex learns that the more Ben has avoided talk about his personal situation back at home, the more she has inundated herself with thoughts of how she has left her fiance waiting at the altar. As days continue to pass, their mental resilience to overcome their obstacles becomes greater as their physical resilience becomes weaker, and soon they both cave into becoming emotionally and physically attached to one another.Faced with the possibility that they may never be found, they soon wage war against each other for who has the best plan for survival. While Ben thinks it is best to stay put given the weather and food conditions, Alex is determined that she will not stay in one place until the rescuers come and find her body. The dog seems to have a mind of his own as well and much sooner than later, it is agreed that their best chances for survival will be to continue moving. After a whirlwind of mountainous incidences, and days in the brutal cold, they are finally rescued and try to return to their post-accident lives. When Alex changes her mind about getting married and Ben finally decides he can love again, they end up back together after realizing they can’t get beyond the connection they made while stranded in the mountains.
The film has enough adventure and human consciousness that it continues to be entertaining although somewhat predictable. The truth is that Kate and Idris, individually and together, are worth watching just because of who they are and the sex appeal that they bring to the screen. Kate Winslet just doesn’t age… While we are still stuck on her iconic role in “Titanic” twenty years ago, she has moved on to several other roles that highlight her inescapable ability to be in control in spite of her “Damsel in distress” physicality. Idris, is sexy and he knows it, and the fact that he does it without trying is worth the price of admission alone. Kudos to director Hany Abu-Assad for making one of those predictable films that has just enough of the right amount of conflict and competition to keep it interesting and enjoyable.
In theaters Friday, October 6th