Sugar Mountain tells the story of two brothers, and one of the brothers girlfriend, who are in debt and have just had their boat repossessed. To combat this, they decide to pull a hoax that will hopefully fool everyone into thinking that one of the brothers has got lost on the mountain and when he is ‘discovered’ he will sell his story and their money troubles will go away. Obviously, things don’t go quite to plan.
I remember, when I was younger, having to watch cricket on TV. I wasn’t a big fan of cricket at this point, I can’t say I am now really but certainly appreciate it more. Anyway, there I was as a petulant child thinking cricket is boring and watching England play. I remember watching the bowlers do their thing and the batsman do theirs, when a thought hit me. I turned to my brother and asked ‘what happens if you can’t bowl and can’t bat, but you’re a good fielder?’ I wondered if it counted for anything to be a third good. Incidentally my brothers answer was ‘you call him Mark Ramprakash and put him in the England team’.
I relay that story as it hit me after I’d finished watching Sugar Mountain. I thought the premise of the movie was wonderful. I thought the setting was great. However, the movie infuriated me as much as, in fact more, than I liked it. Either writer Abe Pogos (first foray into the world of film having written for things like Marshall Law and Packed to the Rafters) or director Richard Gray (Mine Games, The Lookalike) fail to generate any kind of real tension and it should be there.
The story also takes some ludicrous turns that are unnecessary and only serve to cheapen what’s gone before it. These twists and turns seem to be there for the sake of it which is a real shame. I also have a bit of an issue with one of the brothers Liam, the other brother Miles West is played by Drew Roy (Falling Skies, Scretariat). Liam is played by Shane Coffey (Starry Eyes, Perception) and he just doesn’t fit. He looks out of place in this frozen Alaskan town and I never really buy into his whole story.
The girlfriend Lauren, played by Haley Webb (Teen Wolf, The Final Destination) should be the glue that brings this whole story together but sadly she isn’t given the ability to do that by the script. She doesn’t really feature, just sort of background, in the first third of the film which makes the few twists that revolve around her even harder to believe. Jason Momoa (Conan the Barbarian, Game of Thrones) pops up as drug dealing drifter-who-doesn’t-drift type character who turns out to be more gluey then Lauren which makes his screen-time and lack of story infuriating.
I so want to be sitting here telling you how much I loved Sugar Mountain as the idea and the setup is really very good. I just can’t bring myself to find enough about it to rant and rave in its favour. But it’s infuriating as I really think I should be singing from the roof-tops about how good this film is. Instead, I’m left feeling cheated as to what could have been.