6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain (United States, 2017)October 12, 2017
6 Below is the
second stranded-on-a-mountain yarn we have gotten in two weeks and, although
this one is based on a true story, that doesn’t make it any better than the
fictional The Mountain Between Us. In
fact, without the considerable talents of Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, 6 Below suffers from a charisma deficit.
That’s not intended to disparage the efforts of lead actor Josh Hartnett, who
does a decent job as trapped snowboarder (and former professional hockey
player) Eric LeMarque, but he doesn’t rivet the camera’s attention the way Elba
or Winslet can. The
adventure/survival aspects of the movie are presented with workmanlike
efficiency by director Scott Waugh (Need for Speed), but the flashbacks and secondary story elements are at times cringe-worthy.
Eric ends up in an unfortunate situation as a result of poor decisions; it’s tough not to argue that he deserves what he gets. If you do stupid things, the outcome often isn’t going to be a happy one. Despite hearing a weather report that a storm is on the way, Eric decides that he needs to go to the peaks of the High Sierras to clear out his head – he has a court date coming up in 6 days. Once on the slopes, he decides the regular trails aren’t challenging enough so he starts a descent into unmarked territory and becomes lost. The next week is spent enduring hellish conditions, fighting off hypothermia, and combatting severe frostbite. The fact of his survival is nothing short of miraculous – something voiced by the team that finds him.