- Movie Rating -

Infinite Storm (2022)

| April 1, 2022

It must be written into the fabric of lone survivalist women in the movies that they can’t just brave the elements and come out the other side alive but psychologically dented, there has to be some personal baggage bringing up the rear, usually in the form of a recent tragedy.  It makes things, uh, you know, more dramatic and stuff.  This was the case for Sandra Bullock in Gravity, Jodie Foster in Contact, Reese Witherspoon in Wild and Naomi Watts as a mother trying to halt a school shooting in the The Desperate Hour released just a month ago.

I wonder about this trend.  Female characters mourn their past traumas (the most convenient is dead children) while males usually handle it with a gun (see almost any movie that Liam Neeson has made since 2010).  Personally, I think the trauma makes the experience all the more real, but I wonder if we can’t simply have a spine-tingling adventure that crops up out of everyday life without the weight of a dead toddler as motivation to keep things moving.  Not to sound cold-hearted, but I think it would save time and a lot of tiresome flashbacks.

Without the mental pain and flashbacks, Infinite Storm is a pretty good movie.  It stars Naomi Watts as real life survivalist Pam Bales, a search and rescue expert who takes off early one morning for a hike to crest Mt. Washington before a blizzard sets in.  Halfway through her journey, she notices fresh tracks in the snow and hears a cry in the wilderness that sounds vaguely human.  Following the tracks away from her regular route, she finds a man (Billy Howle) lying in the snow who is freezing to death.  Since the man cannot speak, she names him John and determines to bring him to safety.

What follows over the next hour is a tense rescue effort to get herself and her charge off this mountain before they both freeze to death.  The problem: John’s mind has been rattled by the experience and from time to time he’s not even sure he wants to be saved.  Our massive question is why she doesn’t simply leave him there – he states several times that he wants to die there.  Never-the-less, Pam is determined to save his life.  

The details of the rescue are the best part of the movie – they make up the majority of the film.  I love movies in which experts go about their routine of doing something, and I loved watching Pam preparing for her journey, and then putting in motion her well-trained know-how to figure out how to survive.  The most harrowing moment occurs early on when she falls in a hole and has to figure out how to get out without being buried alive.

I love that stuff, but where I grew weary was all of the past trauma at the film’s back half – not only Pam, but also John (there’s a specific reason that he was up there).  Pam is mourning a death and I had trouble connecting it with her experiences trying to get off the mountain.  Not to seem cold but I think the experience of braving a blizzard, an ice cave, a river, and frostbite are sufficient enough for the audience to get involved.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Action, Drama