Arts, Movies, Review

Naomi Watts Delivers a Strong Performance In a ‘Life-or-Death’ Drama

★★★☆☆

Just as the main character of Infinite Storm battles through the chaos of a blizzard, the film’s audience must struggle through the choppy plot of the dramatic film to get to the resolution. The movie tells the true story of mountain climber Pam Bales (Naomi Watts). Watts is no stranger to movies about the harshest elements of nature and previously starred in The Impossible, a film about a tsunami. Infinite Storm similarly features Watts battling through the mountains in the middle of a blizzard. 

The movie portrays a heroic tale but stutters in its execution, and the choppy timeline hinders the film from reaching its maximum potential. 

Released in theaters on March 25, the film revolves around one day during which Bales makes her way up a mountain in the New Hampshire wilderness. On her hike, she finds herself knee deep in snow as a wild storm begins to brew. Bales makes the wise choice to descend from the mountain before she’s trapped in the storm, but on her way down, a trail leads her to a man who wants to continue climbing. After talking to the man, Bales makes it her job to help him get off the mountain before it’s too late. 

Although the drama is based on a true story, the writers and directors take a non-chronological approach to the narrative that, at times, doesn’t work. Interlacing points of flashback with the storyline of Bale on the mountain makes for a movie that only shows the audience danger in small bits. 

At the height of the danger, the film jumps 10 minutes forward in the plot, ripping viewers away from the anxiety-inducing climax. The story itself is suspenseful enough that a narrative straight through could have produced a film that flows better.  

In a film that is all about beating the clock, the story moves slowly. But the movie still creates interest for its viewers, showing Watts fighting for her survival. In one scene, she’s forced to swim in a freezing river at night, making it seem like it could be the end of her journey, but the audience is left wondering if Bales will make it to safety. 

In her moving performance, Watts embodies Bales’ physical and emotional strength as she makes her way down the mountain and copes with her grief on the anniversary of her daughter’s death. 

Even through the fierce blizzard, she delivers a captivating performance that makes the viewer want to keep watching. Her character’s background is mysterious and gives room for Watts to dive into the complexity of her character. Her curious history emanates grief while her present situation creates a hero, which makes for a dynamic and interesting character. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Bleecker Street

April 3, 2022
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