East Of The Mountains: Movie Review

Quick Info

Production company:Phantom Rock Films
Director:S.J. Chiro
Screenwriter:Thane Swigart
Producers:Jane Charles, Mischa Jakupcak
Executive producers:Steven G. Hall, Eliza Flug-Shelden, Tom Skerritt
Production designer: Erin O. Kay
Editor: Eric Frith
Author:David Guterson
Adaptation:East of the Mountains Novel
East Of The Mountains: Full credits

This movie is an adaptation of the best-selling novel “East of the Mountains” by David Guterson. The film opens with the retired cardiac doctor Ben Givens learning that he has terminal cancer. He takes his pet dog, who he has loved since childhood, back to his childhood house in Eastern Washington. Ben Givens is determined to finish his life on his own terms. However, Ben’s path turns out to be a surprise and quickly turns into an epic battle against his characteristic stoicism, wit, and determination.

The Plotline Of The East Of The Mountains

Director S.J. Chiro, working from a script by Thane Swigart, kept things simple throughout. The smooth pacing and simple plot may be frustrating for certain viewers. However, those who have patience will be rewarded with sharply written characters and dialogue. These qualities are particularly evident in the scenes that focus on Ben’s intense reunion with his distant plain-spoken sister (Wally Dalton, fantastic) and never hit the wrong note. 

The flashback scenes in East of the Mountains are visually unnatural and unnatural, where Ben recalls moments from his past that are both happy and painful. They don’t detract from the overall impact of the film.

Tom Skerritt’s Performance

Tom Skerritt's performance in East of the Mountains
Tom Skerritt’s performance in East of the Mountains

He is the lead role in the film. It’s a pleasure to watch Tom Skerritt seize the opportunity and make the most of it in this film adaptation of David Guterson’s top-selling 1999 book East of the Mountains. In the role of a terminally ill man determined to end his life on his conditions, Skerritt delivers the sort of character that is a timely reminder of the amazing work he’s delivered for more than six years.

The actor is 88 years old. The combination of his slender face and healthy leonine braids of white hair give us the perfect Ben Givens. His appearance somehow shows perfectly that he is a retired cardiac surgeon with terminal cancer. He has revealed his condition to nobody, including his daughter, Renee (Mira Sorvino). His decision not to let his guard down into the night is evident in the film’s opening scene, in which he puts the head of a shotgun. The actor doesn’t go through the incident at that point. Instead brings his beloved dog, Rex, with him on a camping excursion in the mountains of the eastern region of Washington.