Malgorzata Szumowska successfully blends a collection of genres into one beautifully crafted story of survival in “Infinite Storm”. Based on a true story, this film stars Naomi Watts as Pam Bales, a grieving rescue climber that ascends to the top of the mountains on the anniversary of a tragic event from her past. Once up in the wilderness Pam’s solitude is broken when she encounters a lone man stranded and barely responsive. Taking it upon herself to bring him down safely, both are engulfed in a large winter storm.
What struck me the most about “Infinite Storm” was its simple but effective approach. It keeps the story grounded. It doesn’t last longer than needed, and it relies on a humanized performance from Naomi Watts who dives headfirst into this role. To complement all this is immaculate cinematography and pristine direction from Szumowska. How she frames the shots, and the selection of lighting, and on-location shoots create a visually stunning film that focuses on the techniques to let the natural wonders of the landscapes shine. She captures both the beauty and the dangers of the landscapes, and the settings overall really do play as another character in this story.
This adds endless amounts of depth to immerse yourself in as the viewer. You can escape into this movie to feel the stress and tension of this harrowing fight for survival in the mountains. From the lingering close-ups of Watts to wide sweeping shots showcasing the rugged backdrops, each frame of this movie delivers delightful eye candy to blend with the high levels of emotional intensity. The pace is swift with character backdrop seeded nicely to add an element of mystery and curiosity to what is truly driving these characters, primarily that of Watts’ Pam.
You know something tragic happened. You know it broke this family, and enough is given to create drive throughout the film. But enough if left until the closing to really come in like an emotional undercut to stick the landing with satisfying results. Without question Watt’s is the heart and core of this movie. Her efforts on the physical side and on the acting side are impressive and it’s a nice reminder of the fantastic actor she is. She makes this role her own but still is able to disappear into this everyday character with heroic characteristics and she knocks it out of the park.
“Infinite Storm” may not be a flashy film. Some may prefer the backdrop given a bit quicker as well, but I enjoyed all the pieces this one put together and found the final act subtly commanding. It weaves action, drama, suspense, and slight doses of levity to give the viewer a complete ride that will capture the power of the human spirit. While also reminding us that there are heroes among us all, and that they come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and you never know when the day will come where you are called on to be a hero like Pam was.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.