“Mountain Men” easily captures the jocular rivalry and unbreakable bond between brothers, which makes sense because Tyler Labine stars as Toph in the film written and directed by his brother, Cameron Labine. Chace Crawford costars as Cooper, the “fancy” big-city brother returning to his rural hometown for a visit and an unexpected adventure with his sibling, small-time drug dealer Toph.
Both are on the verge of big life changes — Cooper’s leaving his New York job, while Toph has a pregnant girlfriend, and their reunion happens on the occasion of their mother’s remarriage after their father’s death. Through some scheming, they end up at their father’s old cabin for a bit of bonding and, through a series of mishaps that go from bad to worse, soon find themselves in a dire survival situation.
The relaxed dramedy makes excellent use of the epic Canadian landscapes while plumbing the depths of the emotional gulf that has developed between the two while they reckon with their father’s disappearance and death. While some of the interpersonal revelations and inner character struggle feel decidedly familiar, treading the waters of the male coming-of-age tale, the setting is novel and the added dramatics of their adventure freshen the story. Tyler Labine, known for his comedic work, contributes a fine dramatic performance tinged with comedy, and Crawford is equally as good. A smart script deftly opens and builds upon itself in a controlled slow burn.
No MPAA rating
Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood