Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5. USA, 2017. Chernin Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Screenplay by Chris Weitz, J. Mills Goodloe, based on the novel by Charles Martin. Cinematography by Mandy Walker. Produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, David Ready, Jenno Topping. Music by Ramin Djawadi. Production Design by Patrice Vermette. Costume Design by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus. Film Editing by Lee Percy. Toronto International Film Festival 2017.
A photojournalist (Kate Winslet) and a surgeon (Idris Elba) anxious to get to Denver are exasperated by the cancellation of their flight, so she comes up with the idea of hiring a small two-seater charter piloted by Beau Bridges and invites the doctor to come along. Bridges has a stroke en route and their plane crashes in the Rocky Mountains, stranding the couple in the cold with injuries and very little food. Elba’s skills as a medical doctor come in handy for dealing with cuts and bruises, while her desire to get moving and not just wait to be rescued helps them go towards their salvation. Through some harrowing experiences and close brushes with death, these two people get to know each other, find common ground and even a little romance, and why not? None of their injuries have ruined their gorgeous faces and it’s not like we can tell how much they smell after weeks crawling through the wintry woods. Hany Abu-Assad’s English-language debut is a cheese-filled melodrama that seems to have no idea that it is the stuff of romance novels, sort of Cast Away for the lovelorn and non-detail-oriented. Indulgence in the glamorous aspects of the situation would be welcome if the film had some awareness of itself, but trying to sell what would take up four days of soap opera episodes as some kind of Jack London experience is insulting, made even worse by the painfully hokey ending. Even the visual effects of the airplane crash look fake (can anything ever come near Zemeckis’ film in this regard?), but at least the performances override the worst aspects of the material and watching these two talents together provides a mild level of satisfaction.