"Mountain Men" easily captures the jocular rivalry and unbreakable
bond between brothers, which makes sense because Tyler Labine stars as
Toph in the film written and directed by his brother, Cameron Labine.
Chace Crawford costars as Cooper, the "fancy" big-city brother returning
to his rural hometown for a visit and an unexpected adventure with his
sibling, small-time drug dealer Toph.
Both are on the verge of big life changes — Cooper's leaving his
New York job, while Toph has a pregnant girlfriend, and their reunion
happens on the occasion of their mother's remarriage after their
father's death. Through some scheming, they end up at their father's old
cabin for a bit of bonding and, through a series of mishaps that go
from bad to worse, soon find themselves in a dire survival situation.
The relaxed dramedy makes excellent use of the epic
Canadian landscapes while plumbing the depths of the emotional gulf that
has developed between the two while they reckon with their father's
disappearance and death. While some of the interpersonal revelations and
inner character struggle feel decidedly familiar, treading the waters
of the male coming-of-age tale, the setting is novel and the added
dramatics of their adventure freshen the story. Tyler Labine, known for
his comedic work, contributes a fine dramatic performance tinged with
comedy, and Crawford is equally as good. A smart script deftly opens and
builds upon itself in a controlled slow burn.
Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes
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