The Mountain’s cinematography sets the bar pretty high at this year’s festival. Heightened by a glorious traditional aspect ratio, the absolute beauty of this picture would be hard to describe with words.
The film is set in the 50s and follows Andy (Tye Sheridan), a quiet young man who loses his mother – confined to a mental hospital – and his father. He meets Dr Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum), the physician who institutionalised his own mother, and embarks on a tour through asylums with him, taking pictures of the doctor’s patients before he performs a lobotomy procedure. Initially emotionally detached, Andy begins to understand and empathise with the inmates, eventually falling in love with one of them (Hannah Gross). Lines between sane and insane suddenly blur.
Goldblum gives one of the best performances of his career as a doctor who refuses to move on from the use of lobotomy and electro shock procedures despite scientific developments showing their lack of benefit. His one-on-one dialogue with Sheridan’s character towards the end of the film is fascinating and hypnotising, and it’s set to linger in the audience’s minds way after the end of the credits.
Despite a masterly monologue from Denis Lavant, there’s a point where the story becomes a little too surreal. His character – a local shaman – will make you uneasy, one of many elements that indie sensation Rick Alverson employs to render the narrative difficult to digest. The American director believes cinema has generally become too easy to consume, and this picture tries to challenge it visually and thematically.
A cameo from Udo Kier and Gross’s natural portrayal of a girl left with no option but to accept the controversial medical treatment make The Mountain a little gem to savour with patience and open-mindedness.
The Mountain does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Venice Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Venice Film Festival website here.