A solid B-Movie with strong performances and an intriguing story, that does not hold back.
“SUGAR MOUNTAIN” was certainly an interesting film. It follows a pair of brothers who devise a plan to fake a disappearance in the Alaskan wilderness in order to sell the story to save their small charter business, and of course things do not unravel as planned.
I didn’t watch this film because of Jason Mamoa, I always find some interest in a slow-burning movie mystery that delivers and indie feel. Despite the success of Jennifer Lawrence her best performance in my opinion was in “Winter’s Bone” a methodical drama with keen elements of mystery.
That was what I was hoping for in this movie and for the most part I think it succeeded. The film perfectly captures and pulls you into the harsh, frozen, Alaskan settings and it sets an excellent backdrop to this story. The locations all add to the somber tone that is depicted of life in the region and it captured the desperation at times to leave for something greater despite all the beauty around them.
The story gets going rather quickly and of course things go wrong with their plan as character dynamics and secrets are revealed very timely throughout. The story was so engaging because while it was a recipe we have seen before it still manged to create more than enough unpredictability to keep the intrigue high.
The performances from the cast were also very good for what this film needed. Shane Coffey, Haley Webb and Drew Roy were all great for this story. They fit the persona of the characters and actually felt like they could live in the region, or at least none ever felt out of place. This all added up to a strong feeling of realism in the appearance, tone, and vibe of the entire film.
As for Jason Mamoa he was clearly the face they used to sell this film. He was very good in his role and completely effective in his imprint on this story but his screen-time was minimal. He was not the major factor to this story so if Mamoa is the sole reason for watching this film you may be disappointed in his glorified cameo. But what scenes he did have he were very tense.
Overall I enjoyed this movie, it pulled me into the story, engaged my attention and regardless of being a similar plot, it was still compelling. It was a simple film for a grim story angle and it managed to deliver a brave twist at the end, albeit a little too late in the third-act. But if you watch the trailer or read the synopsis to the story-line and are intrigued, you will find some mild enjoyment in this film.
Time: 106 min
MPAA Rating: Unrated