Action Adventure

'The Mountain Between Us' Blu-ray Review: Kate Winslet and Idris Elba add some steam to this chilly drama

January 1, 2018Ben MK

When their plane crashes in snow-capped mountains on its journey from Denver to Baltimore, a pair of complete strangers find themselves fighting for their lives — and relying solely on one another for survival — in director Hany Abu-Assad's The Mountain Between Us.

Based on the bestselling novel by Charles Martin, this two-hander stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba as Alex and Ben, an American photojournalist and a British neurosurgeon. After meeting at the airport and discovering they share a similar predicament, the two opt to charter a small plane to get them to their destination. But when their pilot, Walter (Beau Bridges), suffers a stroke, Alex and Ben — along with Walter's dog — must contend with hunger, the bitter cold and cougars, as they attempt to make their way down the mountain and back to civilization.

A straightforward tale of human drama with an element of romance thrown in for good measure, the result relies heavily on the chemistry between its two leads. Bolstered by some stunning cinematography, The Mountain Between Us isn't as spectacular as the scenery, but fans of Winslet and Elba won't be disappointed.

The Mountain Between Us makes its Blu-ray debut with a technical presentation that ought to please viewers looking for, as the filmmakers put it, "a love story with scope." The 1080p picture quality is as crisp and clear as a cold winter's day, bringing out all the detail in the cinematography, from the real-life wilderness environments to the bits of snow on the characters' faces and clothing; color saturation levels are excellent, especially the stark contrast between the cloudless, blue sky and the barren white landscape; and the accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track really puts you in the middle of Alex and Ben's predicament, whether it's a turbulent plane ride, the howling winds, crackling fires, a snarling cougar or the fast-moving currents of an icy river.

Fox's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an iTunes/Movies Anywhere/Google Play/Vudu digital copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Love and Survival: Creating Chemistry (12:42) - A look at how the filmmakers brought author Charles Martin's novel to the big screen, from what director Hany Abu-Assad brought to the movie, to the performances of Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, and the physical demands of their roles.
  • Mountain Between Them: Shooting in Isolation (10:17) - The cast and crew talk about the benefits and the challenges of filming at high altitudes in the Rocky Mountains, as well as the production design involved in creating sets on-location in Invermere, British Columbia.
  • The Wilds: Survival Stunts (5:47) - A behind-the-scenes look at the stunt work involving Elba and Winslet.
  • Deleted Scenes (14:15) - Seven scenes, with optional director's commentary by Hany Abu-Assad ("Ben Secures Tarp," "Alex Digs Quinzhee," "Ben Dreams of Alex," "The Ice Dome," "Ben Exercises Alex's Arm," "Sled Sequence" and "Hospital Hallway").
  • Gallery - 24 production stills.
  • Director's Commentary by Hany Abu-Assad - In his first feature commentary, Abu-Assad talks about the characters and the actor's performances, the cinematography and how it relates to the themes of the movie, the score and the sound design, and more.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:14)

The Mountain Between Us is available from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as of December 26th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 52 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my TIFF review of the film, published on September 17th, 2017.

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