Monday, October 18, 2021

Let It Go

If you are one of those people who watched Adam Green's Frozen and said, "this is all well and good, but they look so cold, and if only they were inside a cable car but still stuck in the middle of the winter sky, this would be more for me, and also, can they be Russians dubbed over into English?" then kids, have I got something for you.

Quick Plot: It's New Year's Eve, and a group of fairly bland but mostly attractive young people are trying to catch the last (what IMDB calls) gondola lift to the top of a mountain for a big party. They're late, but the grumpy operator accepts a few extra bucks to send them on their way, then promptly has a heart attack and dies without leaving any record of their trip.

Naturally, things get worse from there. The car is stuck in the middle of mountainous Russia, far out of cellular service and with no record of their whereabouts. Thankfully, influencer Katya's jerk boyfriend Kirill stormed away from the group before the gondola left, meaning after he sleeps off toxic male rage, he just might care enough to raise some alarms about his missing friends.

That is, of course, if other toxic male jerk Roman doesn't murder everybody onboard first.

Remember how I said Flight 666 was both refreshing for not having the Mr. Cooper-ish over-the-top villain, but also a tad dull for it? Well, Break is the exact other side of that needle: without Roman immediately escalating their plight into every-man-for-himself mayhem, Break would be damn boring. With it, it's just not that good.

I can't blame the film itself for being dubbed or the actors for giving performances that were probably far more interesting in their native language, but Amazon or the studio's decision to only have the dubbed version streaming is just disrespectful to everyone involved...particularly the audience that chooses to watch.

That being said, flat line readings aren't the only thing dragging Break down. Being stuck amid an avalanche should be terrifying, but the effect is dulled a bit when our characters are able to stand exposed to intense winter air with a light coat and no gloves and not, you know, immediately get blown away. The randomly inserted soft pop songs certainly don't help, nor does the fact that nobody onscreen is actually worth rooting for. 

It's a slog. 

High Points
Winter horror! I love a good snowy setting!

Low Points
Kirill, who ultimately emerges as something of a hero, is clearly terrible partner material (he all but stomps his feet when Katya chooses to take the tram instead of abandoning all of her plans with her friends and followers). It would have been nice for the movie to recognize this, and it's honestly a tad scary that we're instead supposed to accept that Katya was wrong (witness her punishment) and this man is a hero

Lessons Learned
The party's over when the clementines run out

Bribery is for cops, not ski lift operators

I say it every time, and they never listen: never, and I truly mean never, make a big point of taking a hopeful group picture before venturing into unguarded nature. Whether you're a sassy spelunker or aspiring filmmaker, your chances of success, much less survival, will plummet double digits the minute you put your arm around your pal for the perfect pose

Sadly, Break is not an enjoyable watch, though it would probably get a full grade bump if shown in its original dialogue. If you're a completist on snow-set thrillers, this is a movie that might end up on a checklist...but towards the bottom. There are at least two movies called Frozen that are more entertaining.

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