Two great actors: one mediocre trailer. The first trailer for The Mountain Between Us — which kind of looks like Cast Away, with Kate Winslet and Idris Elba serving as the volleyball to each others’ Tom Hanks, and vice versa — has just been released.
The film, which is the English-language debut for acclaimed Omar/Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad, follows Winslet and Elba as strangers who survive a plane crash. But, unfortunately the crash happens atop a mountain, and is only the beginning of their struggles, as the two now have to navigate a tumultuous relationship with Mother Nature. Meanwhile, it appears, they either slowly fall in love or forge a very deep platonic companionship. (The former seems more likely, given the trailer’s teasing moment where someone mistakes them for a couple at the beginning of the film, pre-life-threatening wilderness situation, and the fact that the film is based on a “romance-disaster novel” by Charles Martin.)
Perhaps it’s the way the trailer is edited, but unfortunately this just looks…kinda trite and melodramatic. Elba shouts “hello” into the abyss over intensifying piano music, and Winslet emphasizes, “We’ve all we’ve got, me and you,” as action-trailer percussion kicks in; these moments don’t give the sense that it’s the subtlest of wilderness survival films. (Nor does the title, for that matter.) The film had been in development for years, with Margot Robbie and Rosamund Pike at one point in negotiations to play Winslet’s character, and Michael Fassbender originally announced as the male lead.
Again, I want to say the mediocrity of this first look could be just the trailer, given the talent of the people involved. Beyond the always-excellent Elba and Winslet, Abu-Assad’s Golden Globe winning Paradise Now was an assuredly subtle, empathic, unsettling, and politically trenchant look at the oppressive conditions that radicalize people to commit heinous acts, delving into the lives and minds of two Palestinian suicide bombers. After handling such a thorny topic so deftly, you’d certainly think a wilderness action/romance would be more of a cakewalk than a mountain climb.
Watch the trailer: