Thursday, March 24, 2022
A determined rescue in blinding snow
Not every movie wins the battle when it comes to fighting nature. Director Malgorzata Szumowska's Infinite Storm gets halfway there. The movie pits an experienced mountain hiker (Naomi Watts) against a raging winter storm. Not only must Watts' character save herself, but she must also rescue a discombobulated hiker (Billy Howle) who climbed New Hampshire's Mount Washington to commit suicide. Based on a true story, Infinite Storm offers a powerful twist: Howle's nameless character doesn't want to be rescued — at least not at first. Scenes in which Watts (as Pam Bales) searches for the badly dehydrated young man have some charge, as do the ordeals in which Bales and her reluctant charge confront treacherous obstacles. Howle's character refuses to share his name with Bales so she calls him "John." Well and good, but flashbacks to Pam's past (perhaps added to provide emotional heft) disrupt the survivalist flow. John receives a bit of backstory, as well. The Slovenian alps substituted for New Hampshire and the mountain views can be forbidding but Infinite Storm might have benefited either from more depth or fierce streamlining. I'd opt for the latter: Caught in blinding snow, the only motivation that probably matters is getting out alive.