The Mountain: Venice Film Review

I knew nothing about Rick Alverson‘s The Mountain and I didn’t even have it on my list of films to watch in Venice, but I made it a last-minute addition due to the cast, and what a mistake that was.

Tye Sheridan stars as Andy, whose mother is in a psychiatric institution and father has just died. He is approached by Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum), who used to treat his mum, and offered the opportunity to come on the road with him taking photographs of his patients and his hospital visits, where he performs lobotomies and electroshock therapy.

I know not all films are made for enjoyment or entertainment, but I’m sure they’re not meant to be a test of perserverance. Why put your audience through hell? I simply could not fathom the purpose of The Mountain which is mind-numbingly boring, above all else, unpleasant and pointless. I always maintained a sliver of hope that there would be some pay-off or a reasoning behind the madness, but nope. The ending is as frustrating as the rest and just ends in the middle of nowhere, a film version of flipping the middle finger to whoever made it that far.

It is extremely rare for me to dislike a film so much. I usually try to find some positives to offer some balance, but that is impossible here. Even Goldblum, who I adore as an actor and person, just fails to inject light into anything. I was relieved when he arrived, hoping he would bring some life into proceedings, but the script doesn’t offer him the opportunity and his classic mannerisms are very much toned down.

The plot is sparse, the scenes are stripped down to their bare bones, it is shot in muted tones and the script itself is frustratingly minimalistic. We never get a full picture of the characters and nothing about them is explained. There were no decent chunks of conversation to get wrapped up in; it was all stilted, everyone takes a month of Sundays to answer a question and I frankly felt like pulling my hair out.

Sheridan is the lead here but he hardly speaks, in fact, he doesn’t do much beyond being an empty shell, sitting there looking vacant all the time. The script tells us hardly anything about his character and gives him nothing, yet bizarrely gives a ton to Denis Lavant, who plays Jack, the father of patient Susan (Hannah Gross), who rants and raves about random things that I couldn’t make sense of, or care about. Why did this repulsive character get so much dialogue?! Don’t even get me started on his creepy dancing, which I would usually find funny in other circumstances.

The Mountain was just bleak, exasperating and pointless and felt so much longer than it was. What was it trying to say? What was its purpose? I don’t understand how anyone could find that a pleasant viewing experience.

No release information currently known 

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