Advertising a movie as featuring Jason Momoa is all well and good, especially since he does some great work in Sugar Mountain playing a local heavy. The problem is that he’s not nearly the focal point of the film, which works against it because the leads are relatively inexperienced, and don’t do much to stand out in this semi-generic thriller from Australian director Richard Gray, working from a script from Abe Pogos. What this film offers, aside from Momoa, who simply wants to let loose and have fun in his role, is some breathtaking scenery from Seward, Alaska.
For anyone who thinks that Canada has it made when it comes to winter certainly hasn’t experienced anything as majestic as Alaska. Even British Columbia cannot compare. The Sugar Mountain of the title gets plenty of exposure, (and, quite honestly, should have remained as the focus of the film, because once the audience moves indoors, the scenes are a little less than expansive). Sugar Mountain also suffers because of some crucial exposition which could have been better served to have been revealed a little bit later on is instead shown early on in the film, perhaps to capture the mountain. There is the heart of a very solid film at the heart of Sugar Mountain even one shot on a shoestring budget, (see the outdoor shots for example. Appearances by Momoa and veteran actor Cary Elwes are extremely welcome, and Elwes does well with his screen time.
Momoa and the mountain and the scenery help make the film stand out, and one would hope that an audience will watch the film on a screen as large and expansive as possible to fully appreciate the title’s full sensory experience
Sugar Mountain is playing at the Kingsway Theatre and is available on VOD.