Blu-ray: The Mountain

STUDIO: Kino Lorber | DIRECTOR: Rick Alverson | CAST: Jeff Goldblum, Tye Sheridan, Udo Kier, Denis Lavant, Hannah Gross
RELEASE DATE: Nov. 12, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $19.99, Blu-ray $22.99
BONUSES: director’s commentary, interviews, deleted scene
SPECS: NR | 106 min. | Drama | 1.37:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2 | Audio  | Video  | Overall  1/2

The films of director Rick Alverson are definitely an acquired taste:  Deadpan, experimental and offbeat to say the least, previous pictures like Entertainment and The Comedy are challenging, personal works that exist somewhere between the barebones Dogma films of Danish cinema, performance art and the hip indie film scene.

His latest, The Mountain, is, in some ways, a step in a different direction. A period piece set in the 1950s, the film centers on Ardy (Tye Sheridan, Mud), a lonely Zamboni machine driver, who takes a job as a photographer of the cross-country trek of Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum, Hotel Artemis), a travelling physician specializing in lobotomies, which he administers to patients in mental hospitals.

Boasting a distinctive muted look in a boxy 1:37:1 ratio format, the journey through 1950s America in The Mountain is a sad and moody affair, with the two lonely characters finding an uncomfortable partnership amidst the gruesome practice of performing makeshift brain surgeries. We’ll spare you a description of the method used.

There are peripheral characters encountered by the unlikely duo of Goldblum as the jovial doc who believes he’s doing good turning patients into zombies and Sheridan as his dour, repressed sidekick. Udo Kier (Brawl in Cell Block 99) pops up briefly as Sheridan’s ice-skating instructor father, Hannah Gross (Joker) as a patient to whom Sheridan takes a liking and Denis Lavant (Holy Motors) as her faith-healing father.

The Mountain will remind movie fans at times of works by other highly regarded iconoclastic filmmakers, including David Lynch,  Guy Maddin and Todd Solondz. Yet Alverson’s films remains highly original, disturbing and darkly humorous in their own way, on their own terms.  And like the works of those filmmakers, this director’s pictures are likely to divide audiences (as they do critics).

Buy or Rent The Mountain

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.