INFINITE STORM (2022) – A stormy tale of survival with credibility issues

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Rating: ⭐⭐

Infinite Storm starts off by proclaiming that it is based on a true story. That automatically sets my expectations higher especially since this has a survival against nature theme. It also has Naomi Watts in the lead which was another plus factor since I do have fond memories of her earlier movies like The Impossible, The Painted Veil and the Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong. Was this going to be her comeback movie since we haven’t seen anything outstanding from her in awhile? Unfortunately no …

Watts plays the real life search and rescue mountain climber Pam Bales who saved a lone climber (simply referred to as John, played by Billy Howle) during a particularly bad weather in 2010. The film attempts to show us what happened and how they managed to overcome the odds. However, the way the story is told, you would be excused to think this is more fiction than fact. John for example is seen to be a reluctant survivor and encounters several death threatening accidents along the way. Yet, he was still capable of hopping his way down the unfriendly terrains even an abled person would find challenging. This is even more unconvincing given his character’s reluctance to carry on, as one would need to find inner strength to be able to force yourself to overcome the pain needed to carry on the trek.

Additionally, there seem to be little effort taken to ”educate” the viewer on basic survival skills by a mountain climber. Instead the whole journey up and down were rather superficially captured. The effect of this being a suspicion that the film makers did not take too much effort to really understand the real challenges climbers face and how they equip themselves to address any unexpected risks. At least the mountainous surroundings provided some breathtaking vistas. Although the story takes place in Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA, the film was shot on location mainly in Slovenia!

The brief running time of just slightly over an hour and a half is appreciated but somehow even this felt too long especially in the finale act that dragged on unnecessarily. How many shots of Watts taking a leak, brushing her teeth, taking a bath, belching, etc do we need to see to be show us how ”real” her character is? If only they paid as much attention to the details on how they managed to survive the harsh conditions in their journey to safety.

I usually enjoy watching survival thrillers but I have to infer that Infinite Storm is one of the weaker entries in this genre. My main issue here is that the credibility of the story is at risk by the way the story is presented which is based solely on the rescuer’s account of the events. In seems the person who was rescued was so reclusive nobody knows who he is much less his actual name. So what we have here is just Pam’s words to support the story. It doesn’t help that Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska failed to provide any lasting impact or feeling of wonderment that one has come to expect for these sort of movies.

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