6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain
6 Below tells the story of former hockey player Eric LeMarque (Josh Hartnett) and his struggle not only against a ruthless snowstorm high in the Sierra mountains but against much deeper, psychological trauma – his rough childhood and his decline into drugs. Eric decides to leave for the mountains to snowboard, but it is apparent that an underlying sense of self-discovery becomes the ultimate reason for his venturing out into this terrain. He is forced to endure eight days (as in the real-life story) in the extreme, fluctuating temperatures, whilst also battling flashbacks from his traumatic past. In the end, Eric pays a physical price somewhat reminiscent of 127 Hours but, unfortunately, 6 Below is perhaps 1/10 of that film (and 127 Hours wasn’t great).
The movie is abundant in sweeping landscape shots of the impressive High Sierras, particularly by way of making Hartnett’s character seem minuscule in comparison. Yet these shots, by day three, become repetitive, and the lack (almost total omission) of dialogue during the lonesome scenes creates a painfully monotonous environment. Of course, this would be the case having been recently stranded in the mountains yet instead of embracing this lonely environment and truly delving deeper into the mind of Eric LaMarque (which could have made the painfully long journey a little more interesting), the film employs clichéd flashbacks of troubled father-son relationships and the nostalgic longing for some distant dream that, by now in mainstream Hollywood filmmaking, seems to be an overused subplot.
6 Below lacks any originality, with the sound-score (full of conventional cacophonies of strings at times of unsurprising climax) and an equally clichéd use of patriotic pride in seeing Hartnett overcome the deathly mountains all intertwining into what can only be described as a highly unadventurous one-man’s journey into weak self-exploration.
6 Below will be released nationwide on 13th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for 6 Below here: