The films of Rick Alverson have never been about mkaing sweeping, crowd-pleasing movies. Instead the director finds unique stories as ways to explore the inner-lives of outcasts and misfits, sometimes pushing his characters towards incredibly unlikable behavior. Alverson returns to the screen with his latest oddball excursion to The Mountain. Kino Lorber has just released the first trailer for The Mountain, and it looks like Alverson is set to enter a new phase of his career, one that’s still fascinated by outcasts but with aesthetic that’s reminiscent of the Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master (I haven’t seen the film, so I’m not saying the final film will in any way resemble PT Anderson’s film).
Jeff Goldblum stars as Dr. Wallace Fiennes, a doctor operating in the heyday of the patriarchy that is the 1950s. He recruits young outcast Andy (Tye Sheridan) to be his photographer as he travels to various hospitals across the country. They’re not studying cures to known diseases, but to advocate for Dr. Fiennes’ controversial lobotomy procedure. After all, we’re still in the dark of ages of mental health treatment, an era of lobotomies and shock treatment. Co-starring with Goldblum and Sheridan in The Mountain are Hannah Gross, Udo Kier, and the great Denis Lavant.
The Mountain looks to be an incredible, unsettling journey through an overlooked chapter of American history but it’s also worth remembering that Alverson is the kind of filmmaker completely uninterested in meeting audience expectations. Prepare your fragile brains for the trailer for The Mountain. Kino Lorber will open The Mountain in New York and LA on July 26, 2019.
The official synopsis for The Mountain:
1950s America. Since his mother’s confinement to an institution, Andy has lived in the shadow of his stoic father. A family acquaintance, Dr. Wallace Fiennes, employs the introverted young man as a photographer to document an asylum tour advocating for his increasingly controversial lobotomy procedure. As the tour progresses and Andy witnesses the doctor’s career and life unravel, he begins to identify with the institutions’ patients. Arriving at a California mountain town, a growing center of the New Age movement, they encounter an unconventional French healer who requests a lobotomy for his own daughter, Susan.