October 10, 2017 -- This is an unusual love story, set against a backdrop of survival in the wilderness. It is a tale of two people with strong personalities who must learn not only to coexist, but to rely on each other in order to survive a plane crash in a remote mountainous wilderness.
Idris Elba (“The Dark Tower”) plays neurosurgeon Ben Bass and Kate Winslet (“Insurgent”) plays photo journalist Alex Martin, both stranded when a small plane crashes. The pilot, Walter (Beau Bridges of “The Descendants”) dies in the crash, but his dog survives, naturally. Since Walter didn't file a flight plan and the plane's transponder and radio are destroyed in the crash, Ben and Alex, both injured in the crash, are on their own.
Alex was trying to get to Denver to attend her own wedding, while Ben was scheduled to perform surgery. They ended up hiring Walter and his plane when they couldn't get the connections they needed in time. Ben wants to stay with the plane after the crash, hoping for rescue, but Alex insists on walking out, even though she has a broken leg. She is also menaced by a mountain lion at one point.
As they slowly make their way from the high mountains to lower elevations, they begin to learn about each other. Alex believes that their best chance to get out means they have to have hope. Ben who relies on logic, says that the heart is “just a muscle.” He doesn't think they will survive the journey, but as they continue on their way, he begins to believe they might just make it.
This journey continues for weeks, as they survive due to some very unlikely circumstances. Their journey eventually becomes a love story, which also seems to be against the odds. The location scenery (filmed in British Columbia) looks spectacular, thanks to cinematography by Mandy Walker (“Australia”). Both Idris Elba and Kate Winslet give convincing performances. While interracial romances in films are nothing new, they still are uncommon. Later this year the grandfather of films on this subject, “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner,” celebrates its 50th anniversary in theaters.
It is tough to keep a story interesting when most of the time there are only two people (and a dog) on screen, but director Hany Abu-Assad (“Paradise Now”) manages it. This is not the usual setting for a romantic movie, but it does work. The ending is also unconventional in that it takes place in London. If you like romantic stories and are tired of the usual treatment, this film takes a different approach to the subject. This film rates a B.
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