Naomi Watts achieved lead actress status for more than one excellent acting turn decades ago, even if it means she currently stars in programmers that appeal to a very specific demographic. In “Infinite Storm” that demo consists of Watts fans and mountain climbers.
Watts also headlined, practically alone, another recent film (the Phillip Noyce helmed) “The Desperate Hour” about a single mother jogging in the forest nearby her home when she learns that her son’s high school is the scene of a mass shooting. There’s no doubt Watts can carry a film, yet the question remains whether said films convey their message to a wide or select audience.
Watts goes beyond the pale and establishes her vulnerability in a tasteful nude scene that occurs late in “Infinite Storm” after a series of life-threatening events. You’d think she’s in her ’20s her body is so svelte, yet she’s 57.
One morning our heroine gets up at the crack of dawn and prepares to climb a mountain. The film details the time with a graphic credit that also works like a plot point. As the hours advance and she climbs higher in altitude the weather gets progressively worse.
Who knew that New Hampshire was a state ringed by nearly two dozen mountains? (Your humble scribe lives in Texas, the second largest state in America, and there’s like one mountain.) The film was shot in Slovenia, but only viewers actually familiar with New Hampshire’s tallest peak can tell the difference.
Watts comes across a fellow climber who’s woefully prepared. His threadbare sneakers cannot protect his feet from frostbite.
The entire rest of the film chronicles Watts, an obviously experienced climber, helping the amateur to safety. This guy might be suicidal, at one point even hurling himself over a cliff.
After hours of adverse weather they finally get back to the parking lot at the base of the mountain and he abruptly bolts and drives off in his car. It’s months before he contacts her, only to make a mealy mouthed apology.
That’s basically “Infinite Storm” in a nutshell. You have to be a huge Watts fan or be familiar with the true story this is based on or be an experienced climber, or all of the above, for the story to payoff on the gut level filmmakers Michael and Malgorzata Szumo intend.