Dropping onto Netflix today is the Romanian drama-thriller, The Father Who Moves Mountains (aka Tata Mută Munții). Written and directed by Daniel Sandu, the movie stars Adrian Titieni, Elena Purea, and Judith State, and tells the story of a father’s search for his son, who becomes missing amongst the Bucegi Mountains.
In the movie, Mircea Jianu is a retired intelligence officer who is informed that his son, Cosmin, and Cosmin’s girlfriend, have gone missing while out on a mountain hike. Frantic about his son’s whereabouts, Mircea instantly sets off to meet with the rescue team to offer his assistance.
But with treacherous conditions over the mountains, including a blizzard and reports of an avalanche, Mircea is informed that he will be unable to get involved with the rescue operation. The best he can do is wait at the nearby hotel, while the team try to locate the missing hikers.
Unable to sit by, while his son could be fighting for his life, Mircea forms his own rescue team. He then heads up the mountain, determined not to return without his son.
If you’re looking for a beautifully shot movie, with some breath-taking scenery, a strong central performance, and a captivating story, then you will certainly find it with The Father Who Moves Mountains. Don’t be put off by the cumbersome title, this is an excellent picture about one man’s unrelenting determination to find his son.
The film takes a very simple premise, and manages to pack it with enough drama and emotion to keep things interesting. It looks good, the cast know exactly what they are doing, and the film never wavers.
What works to the movie’s advantage is the way in which it doesn’t waste any time getting into the story. There is no preamble about Cosmin getting lost, the film makes it clear what has happened from the very beginning, then gets to work on delivering the rescue.
This rescue is then played out via various scenes of mountain climbing and base camp surveillance. The mountain climbing scenes are the more interesting to watch, but there is a good balance here, to ensure all areas of the operation are covered.
Of course, this is a drama-thriller, so those looking for an action-packed movie should be made aware that’s not what this film is about. There is some mild spectacle, but this isn’t a big budget action flick, and it is important to remember that.
The emphasis throughout this movie is on the human side of a situation like this. It is about the emotional toll that it takes, and the lengths that Mircea will go to in order to protect his child.
At times, this means unpacking the depths of his determination, which eventually becomes an obsession. Mircea becomes so focused on the rescue, that he loses sight of everything else.
Even when the situation is at its most dire, he refuses to give up. In many respects its admirable, but it also means he becomes foolhardy and bloody-minded, which is fascinating to watch.
Throughout all of this, Adrian Titieni gives a superb performance. He is so believable as Mircea, that it is difficult not to side with him, even when his actions become reckless.
There is a fine line between determination and tunnel vision, and he walks it. And as he walks this line, there is bravery, sadness, and a general sense of hopelessness.
The Father Who Moves Mountains is a bleak movie – there’s no escaping that. From the subject matter to the backdrop, this is a harsh film which doesn’t pull any punches and has the power to get under the skin.
Before I pressed ‘play’ on this movie, I knew next-to-nothing about The Father Who Moves Mountains. I presumed it was a film about a rescue mission, and essentially that’s what it is.
But there are various ways to deliver a movie like this, many of which would make for a rather boring picture. That’s not what I found here – The Father Who Moves Mountains is instead a thoroughly engaging piece of film that held my attention and delivered a great little character study.
It’s not a huge blockbuster, and it doesn’t set out to wow its audience with scenes of cliff-top peril, instead it simply wants to tell a heartfelt story, backed by a solid cast. This is exactly what it does, and for me, it was a great little movie.