Set in the 50s, The Mountain is the story of Andy (Tye Sheridan, Ready Player One), a directionless young man. Early in the film his father dies and he meets Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum) who hires him to accompany him on the road as his photographer. The doctor is a lobotomist and they spend the rest of the film bouncing from mental hospital to mental hospital leaving pliant patients in their wake. But when the good doctor begins to find his services are going out of fashion as less drastic new procedures replace his, he spins a bit out of control, drinking and sleeping with random women, with Andy as his silent witness. And it seems to be building to something. But that something never really comes.

Early in the film when we find out about the doctor’s work, we also find that Andy’s mother was one of his patients. So maybe that is what drives him to take the job, to see the places where the patients live, to see what the procedure actually does to them. But his reaction to the horrifying ice pick to the eye is nearly invisible. In fact, throughout most of the film he is a blank. His father dies. No reaction. He’s asked to come along with a stranger on the road. No reaction. He witnesses a lobotomy. No reaction. You’d almost believe he was a lobotomized mute. But when he meets a young woman whose father has asked the doctor to come to their house and do the deed, he falls for her. And after she gets herself neutralized, he decides to follow her into that nether world.

The Mountain is beautifully shot and I was going with it for a while thinking that perhaps its lulling you along was part of the film’s plan. That there would be a turn and it would all make sense and have a point. But no. It’s just a pretty picture with no substance. I love seeing Jeff Goldblum in a less than over-the-top role. And he is good in it, but it’s not a great enough role to sit through this film.

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