Infinite Storm Synopsis: As Pam Bales (Naomi Watts), an experienced climber, ascends into Mount Washington, she turns back before she reaches the summit as a huge blizzard approaches. However, on her way down, she encounters a stranded man (Billy Howle) and takes it upon herself to get them both down the mountain before nightfall arrives and they succumb to the elements. Based on a true story.
Tales of humanity overcoming the foreboding dangers of nature populate cineplexes at a fast and furious rate. From pulpy thrillers like The Mountain Between Us and The Grey to humanistic dramas like Arctic and Adrift, dozens of filmmakers continue to mine insights into the trials and tribulations of enduring the world at its most dangerous and unpredictable.
Director Malgorzata Szumowska and screenwriters Joshua Rollins lean into nature’s harsh realism with the Pam Bales biopic Infinite Storm. Framed as a triumph of personal traumas through surviving the treacherous mountain conditions, Szumowska crafts a film radiating with competence and noble intentions. Unfortunately, neither quality makes for a compelling narrative.
Infinite Storm struggles to overcome its inherent timidness. Suzmowska and Rollins approach Bale’s experiences with the utmost reverence for her sacrifices – but rarely offer much digging beneath the surface of her persona. Suzmowska tries to introduce occasional flashbacks amidst the wintery landscape. However, few of these blips conjure the type of emotional resonance to connect with audiences. The lack of meaningful reflection reduces the setup into a boilerplate premise, a plotline that feels indistinguishable from several other superior dramas of this ilk.
As Pam and her mysterious counterpart try to overcome the growing dangers, viewers must endure the overbearing haze of familiarity. It’s unfortunate that one of Infinite Storm’s weaknesses comes from its poor timing, with the film following up a recent slew of survivalist drama that mine very similar subject matter. Lacking its own stylistic and emotional imprint, Infinite Storm ultimately reads as a well-meaning yet uninteresting continuation of the all-too-familiar trend.
That said, diehard fans of the survival thriller genre should get their money’s worth. Naomi Watts continues to serve as one of the industry’s most reliable stars, embracing Pam’s life with a detailed eye for naturalism. From the way Watts hums along with radio songs to the whirlwind of frustration and care she feels towards her counterpart, the actress emanates authenticity with every frame. I also credit Szumowska for embracing the genre without Hollywood theatrics, conjuring a deliberate pace and straightforward visual presentation that lets the dreary setting speak for itself.
Infinite Storm never stumbles mightily, but the film doesn’t do enough to elevate its familiar formula.
Infinite Storm is now playing in theaters.
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