Veteran character performers are rarely given the opportunity to shine in the main film part, especially as they near the end of their careers. That is why it is such a treat to see Tom Skerritt grasp and run with the opportunity in this adaptation of David Guterson’s best-selling 1999 novel East of the Mountains. Skerritt offers a late-career defining performance as a terminally sick man set on ending his life on his own terms, serving as an overdue reminder of the fantastic work he’s been delivering for nearly six decades.

The 88-year-old actor plays Ben Givens, a retired heart surgeon suffering from terminal cancer, with his deeply creased face exemplifying “craggy,” yet nonetheless slim and sporting a leonine mane of white hair. East of the Mountains is a drama film direct by SJ Chiro that premieres in April 2021 at the Seattle International Film Festival. It will be release in US theatres in September 2021. The film is based on David Guterson’s novel East of the Mountains.

There isn’t a lot of conflict in “East of the Mountains.” Skerritt’s character, Ben, nearly loses his dog Rex when another ferocious canine goes for Rex’s throat. And, while Ben eventually confronts the owner of the unruly dog, this isn’t a “John Wick”-style revenge narrative. Ben is far too old for it. Accordingly, if you want to learn more about the movie, keep reading this blog till the finish.

Review Of East of the Mountains

The movie based on David Guterson’s best-selling novel. When retired cardiac surgeon Ben Givens learns he has terminal disease, he returns to his boyhood home in Eastern Washington with his pet dog, determined to end his life on his own terms. On the other hand, Ben’s quest takes an unexpected turn and quickly becomes an adventure in which he pits himself with remarkable stoicism, wit, and drive.

He hasn’t told anyone, not even his devoted daughter Renee (Mira Sorvino), about his condition. Furthermore his determination to not go gently into that good night is hinted at in the film’s opening minutes, when he places a shotgun to his head. He does not carry it out right away, instead opting to take his pet spaniel, Rex, on a camping vacation in the hilly region of eastern Washington where he grew up, presumably to complete the deed.

His plans suddenly unravel. First, his car breaks down, forcing him to take a lift from a charming young couple. However, who are perplexes when he insists on dropping them off in the middle of nowhere. Then, as Ben is enjoying a campfire and a leisurely toke on a forgotten joint he discovers in his travel pack, Rex is viciously attacked and nearly killed by a coyote hunter’s dog (John Paulsen). Ben is forced to kill the other dog, and the enraged hunter retaliates by snatching his firearm.

The slow tempo and minimalist plotline may irritate some viewers. However, those who are patient will be rewarded handsomely by the sharp characterizations and banter. Those attributes are on full show in moments involving Ben’s strained reunion with his estranged, blunt-spoken brother, which never falls flat. East of the Mountains could have came across as monotonous, maudlin, or both with a different actor. On the other hand, Skerritt gives a performance of such restrained eloquence and dignity that it emerges as a modest gem.

Trailer of East of the Mountains

The release date, timing, and other facts of Movie

  • Release Date (Streaming): September 24, 2021
  • Genres: Drama | Adventure
  • Directed by: SJ Chiro
  • Produced by: Jane Charles, Mischa Jakupcak
  • Written by: David Guterson (novel)
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Original Language: English
  • Streaming: Amazon Prime
  • IMDb Ratings: 5.4/10

The Main Cast

Furthermore, here is the rundown of the main cast in the East of the Mountains movie.

  • Tom Skerritt as Ben Givens
  • Mira Sorvino as Renee Givens
  • Annie Gonzalez as Anita Romero
  • Victoria Summer Felix as Young Rachel

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The East of the Mountains has been on your mind all this time, and you’ve learned a lot. Throughout, director S.J. Chiro, working from a script by Thane Swigart, keeps things low-key. The slow tempo and minimalist plotline may irritate some viewers, but those who are patient will be rewarded handsomely by the sharp characterizations and banter. Less effective are the flashback sections, which are visually uncomfortable and appear unnecessary, in which Ben relives both happy and sad memories from his life. They do, however, have a minor impact on the overall impact of the film.