The atmosphere in The Mountain is so stunningly austere, thanks in part to the atonal, beseeching soundtrack, you start to think there’s a dark, evil universe lurking behind the orderly surface of the screen, poised to enter this world at any moment.
We experience this simmering threat through the eyes of young Andy, who is travelling with his disappeared mother’s former doctor, Dr Fiennes – a surprisingly restrained role by Jeff Goldblum. This neurologist asks the boy to accompany him as a photographer during operations. What follows is a journey through American psychiatric institutions of the 1950s, where Fiennes subjects women to lobotomies – a treatment already outmoded at that time. The Mountain, filmed in stark 4:3 framing, shows an ice-cold male world from which all forms of humanity are surgically removed. Including the small signs of life Andy occasionally dares to show. Grimly sober, tragically loveless.