Testing the limits of endurance
Review: 6 Below – Miracle on the Mountain
Starring Josh Harnett, Mira Sorvino, Sarah Dumont
The true story of ‘The Miracle Man’ Eric LeMarque, Six Below is a disaster film with Christian overtones.
Based on the memoir Crystal Clear, it is a tense film that manages to overcome some of its lesser elements.
Josh Harnett (Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbour) plays Eric LeMarque. A former professional hockey player and Winter Olympic athlete, LeMarque begins the film in the process of ruining his life. Addicted to meth amphetamine, he decides one day to go snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain, heading down the unsanctioned track. It’s a decision that costs him dearly, as a snowstorm sets in and he finds himself hopelessly lost.
This decision to go snowboarding in a storm is one of many destructive decisions LeMarque made in his life. As he pointed out in a piece for The Mirror, “When I retired there was a void in my life that was something bigger than my 6-foot view. My dreams were dead and I did not work through that and found temporary comfort in artificial highs that literally swept my legs out from under me.”
Six Below manages to ratchet the tension up constantly. The hopeful moments where it seems like LeMarque will get back to safety are dashed at the right points. The disaster story is interspersed with details surrounding LeMarque’s life, family, and how his addiction developed. These cutaway moments do not manage to keep up with the tension of the ever-threatening blizzard, ranging from genuinely moving to moments that could have been easily enough deleted from the film’s final cut.
Six Below generally manages to be appropriately subtle with its Christian message, allowing it to permeate and inform the film without hitting the audience over the head with it. Six Below’s ending is the only part of the film that is overly didactic, and is something that could have served to be pulled back.
Still, the film’s ever-present tension makes its lesser moments worth trudging through.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor