‘Infinite Storm’ is a Decent Story of Survival Bolstered by Naomi Watts’ Performance – Movie Review
Mother Nature can create a living hell on our planet, but the sheer will to survive can make almost any hardship bearable. Infinite Storm is a film that tells the story of a disastrous circumstance that plunges two individuals into a desperate battle between surviving their situation or falling victim to the wrath of the storm that surrounds them. The film is based on a true story that details the struggles of a woman’s attempts to rescue a man trapped in the high elevations of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. This is a slow-burning film that encompasses its cast’s strengths and breathless sense of scale in the adverse conditions of Mother Nature.
The film opens with Pam Bales (Naomi Watts) waking up as the sun rises. She gears up for the day and packs her hiking backpack for all the essentials she’ll need, including food, extra clothes, water, and several thermoses of hot chocolate. She plans to do her six-hour loop through Mount Washington peaking and returning home. Even though the weather report warns of an impending storm and sub-freezing conditions, Pam is determined to make her way through it all.
She is an avid hiker, but also a search and rescue volunteer. The area she will be traveling on that fateful day is known to experience horrible weather conditions, as the signs in the area clearly show. As he begins his hike, the weather is fine and there is no sign of things getting worse, but anyone familiar with the weather knows not to take calm conditions for granted. Taking place in November, be prepared for a sudden change in weather, especially given the possibility of heavy snowfall and a sudden drop in temperature. Pam proudly wears her tank top on a hike and changes aptly as conditions change.
Meanwhile, Pam encounters something she never expected. a single set of footprints in the snow as the storm begins to roll in. Pam is more than prepared to handle these conditions, but since the footprints look like someone wearing tennis shoes, that person may be in trouble. Sure enough, Pam follows the footprints and finds a lonely man sitting alone about to freeze to death. The man is unable to communicate with Pam and his appearance suggests he may already have frostbite. She calls him “John” (Billy Howle) and springs into action helping him in any way she can. She takes off his wet clothes and gives him his backup pair, and rushes to raise his body temperature so he can get up and leave the mountain before conditions prevent him from escaping.
This film is a slow exercise that can prove tedious for audiences, but it feels like the filmmakers wanted to emphasize the amount of time that passes between these two. Minutes look like hours. Hours feel like days, and the struggle for both to survive feels like an eternity or an infinite duration, if you will. Both Watts and Howle give terrific performances here, and I felt the pain these two endured, especially hearing the howling wind and excessive snow hitting them in the face.
Credit must go to co-director Michal Englert, who served as the film’s cinematographer. Establishment shots, camera work and lighting are put to good use here. Plus, co-director Malgorzata Szumowska does a good job of telling the story and allowing audiences to follow in the footsteps of these two people struggling to survive. Unfortunately, the film’s script lacks substance. The ending of the movie is pretty traditional, and compared to other survival movies, this movie just looks decent. Sure, we have an idea of what’s going on, but Josh Rollins’ script doesn’t seem complete. Personally, I wanted more from the movie and would have been happy if the movie did more to expand on the story it’s based on. That’s not to say the movie is bad, but this movie might seem boring to watch for the casual observer.
Rating 3 out of 5
Despite the fairly simple storyline and amazing cinematography, Infinite Storm is just a decent enough survival movie to recommend. Watts and Howle’s performances are a highlight, and I was captivated by all the danger and hell they went through. The movie is fantastic to watch, but you might find that reading the story it’s based on is far more engaging and exciting than the movie itself. That’s not to say I didn’t like the movie, but at the very least, I also wasn’t clinging to my seat during the intense moments, which is normal in movies like these.