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“Infinite Storm”—In the Eye of

Based on a true story, Infinite Storm recreates the 2010 rescue from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. A blizzard is about to be unleashed, and Pam Bales (Naomi Watts) knows that this will be a challenging climb.  But the viewer does not know her motivation for undertaking what seems like an unnecessary risk in the approaching storm.  Nonetheless, she packs her backpack and emergency supplies and begins the climb, only midway finding tracks that indicate someone wearing sneakers is hiking in the vicinity.

We see unimaginable physical exertion, and near-death heroics to continue the trek in search of the missing hiker.  With difficult terrain and almost zero-visibility Bales, a nurse and search-and-rescue climber, is determined to find the loner wearing sneakers.  Eventually, after almost superhuman near-fatal accidents herself, Bales heroically saves the severely incapacitated man freezing at the top of a 6000 ft mountain.

There are only two main characters in Infinite Storm and neither of their motivations is clear. Why would Pam risk her own life, despite menacing weather conditions?  Who is this ill-prepared climber wearing only sneakers on a snow-covered mountain?

The acting may be good but it is difficult to tell, due to very little dialogue and character backstory or development. The viewer assumes there are horrendous ordeals they suffered in the past, but until the last twenty minutes of the film none are given. This is a shame since the story had a lot of potential and should have been so much better.

For a survivor drama the pace was way too slow.   Not much happens, not even a slow burn where either or both of the characters has a dramatic and unexpected behavioral response to the frightening conditions they face.   Naomi Watts is a gifted actor but even she couldn’t rescue Infinite Storm. (She is one of the producers.)  What a waste of talent!  Watts is reduced to expressing her inner thoughts and anxiety by talking to herself…out loud.

The cinematographer does capture the ominous beauty and danger of a ferocious blizzard, but by the time the credits roll by at the end of Infinite Storm, I had to ask myself why I watched this dull, completely unsatisfying epic-fail of a film.

Availability:  Netflix DVD

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