Movie Review: Harrowing Rescue Story ‘Infinite Storm’ Offers Brutal But Authentic Character Study


On the heels of what was effectively a one-woman show in the school shooting drama The desperate hourstar Naomi Watts returns with another film clearly shot during the pandemic but under very different circumstances. Infinite Storm tells the true story of Pam Bales (Watts), who climbed New Hampshire’s Mount Washington just as a huge snowstorm approached. As an experienced climber, Bales knew when was the best time to turn around and head home. But after an unfortunate accident that delayed his trip and, more importantly, the unexpected discovery of a stranded and nearly dead man (Billy Howle) on the trail, wearing clothes not made for the storm, only tennis shoes with feet and without supplies On her own accord, Bales is forced to use her search and rescue training to bring down the man safely while surviving the brutal cold, high winds and ever-accumulating snow. .

Directed by veteran Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska (Will never snow again) and written by Joshua Rollins, Infinite Storm isn’t just a film about surviving inclement weather and other dangerous climbing conditions. As the couple descends the mountain, we gradually begin to learn more about their life before this encounter. She never learns his real name (she assigns him the name “John” just to have something to call him), but she deduces that he was on the mountain hoping to die after a tragic loss. . But through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Pam herself has devastating losses to deal with years ago, from which she will likely never fully recover. In fact, the name of Ty Gagne’s 2010 New Hampshire Labor Leader The article that chronicled this rescue was “Footprints in Snow Lead to Emotional Rescue”. While Watts plays Pam as extremely mission-driven, she also allows the character time to remember and grieve when needed.

Unlike nearly every other dramatic rescue movie like this, Infinite StormThe conclusion of occurs some time after the rescue is over, with the investigation of who John really was and why he disappeared after safely descending Mount Washington. Fortunately, no one doubts Pam’s story. and although people want to know more about this man, he has little interest in sharing. Most of the film is simply two people trying to traverse some of the most dangerous terrain on the planet in the worst conditions of the season. The two don’t exactly bond in the traditional sense of well-being, but once she convinces John that life is worth living, the two at least come together around the common goal of surviving this. meet.

I guess most of the weather we see here is real, with some snow and wind thrown in where necessary, but this one hurts your face and extremities as you watch his frostbite progress and the diminished spirit. It’s an absolutely brutal story captured beautifully and authentically. With supporting characters (played by Denis O’Hare, Parker Sawyers and Eliot Sumner) sprinkled throughout the early and later parts of the film, Infinite Storm surprised me by not falling into heroic platitudes but by keeping Pam human, someone experienced but not blameless, and determined not to let her suffering define or defeat her. It is a surprisingly strong work.

Infinite Storm now playing in theaters.

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