If you’ve seen Rick Alverson’s films, such as The Comedy and Entertainment, know them to be challenging in traditional notions of what a comedy can be. They’re also polarizing as Hell, but they don’t feature Jeff Goldblum as a 1950s doctor peddling a controversial form of lobotomy, and that makes The Mountain perhaps the most divisive Alverson film of all.
Having premiered at Venice to quiet buzz, The Mountain also stars Tye Sheridan (Dark Phoenix) as a young photographer who joins Goldblum’s character on an asylum tour to sell his lobotomy treatment. The film co-stars Hannah Gross, Udo Kier, and Denis Lavant.
Here’s the synopsis: 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.
Alverson’s films have never appealed to me and despite my appreciation for all-things Goldblum, it’s doubtful this one will change that. But I want to give it a shot because Alverson at least does interesting work that inspires conversation, so hopefully, The Mountain will get a wider release than the NY/LA one it’s due for on July 26th.