Infinite Storm may be based on a true story, but that doesn’t mean the languishingly slow movie is given any concessions. Naomi Watts, one of my favorite actresses working today, could do this kind of role in her sleep. She is no stranger to playing a devastated mother fighting for survival (see: the far superior The Impossible, The Ring, or Shut In), so maybe that is part of why my expectations were so high. Watts can take basic material and elevate it with ease, but Infinite Storm simply does not have enough meat on its bones to warrant the nearly two-hour runtime.
Despite warnings of “one of the coldest nights I’ve seen in awhile” from her local radio station, Pam (Naomi Watts) carries on with her hiking routine. The further Pam climbs up towards the summit of the mountain, the worse the snowy frozen horrors of the approaching blizzard become. Without a single other person in sight, signaling for help with only a whistle at her side does little to draw attention. Deep in the mountains, Pam comes across a downed fellow climber. She will do anything it takes to get the two of them back to safety in escape of the frigid cold of the mountainside.
As a short film, Infinite Storm has potential to be one of the greats, but the story feels stretched thin in the hands of writer Joshua Rollins. Naomi Watts, as expected, is absolutely amazing on every level. The backstory that channels Pam’s endless devotion to climbing the mountain is devastating. It focuses on a completely real tragedy, and one can feel Pam’s pain through the tears of the supercharged performance from Watts. I can only imagine what the real-life subjects endured in their efforts for survival. Not to diminish their plight in any way, but watching them unfold onscreen with minimal orchestral accompaniment is a bit flat.
Visually, the film fares better, as the sweeping mountain landscape and the intensity of the storm means beautiful, often breathtaking wide shots. When the narrative stales, the acting and cinematography still allow Infinite Storm to soar. It is a glaringly obvious that this was made during the pandemic. Expressly made with minimal actors and crew in mind, Infinite Storm fails to elevate its predictable story of survival against impossible weather conditions.
Infinite Storm gets stranded in the snow when it heads to wide release theaters on Friday, March 25th.