Not rated. Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.
Rick Alverson’s films tend to be intense studies of opaque, damaged men trapped by their own masculinity, and The Mountain continues that trend. It’s also his first film not set in the present day, but instead back when America was great — y’know, the 1950s, when men were men and women were women and ne’er the twain shall meet. After the death of his gruff Teutonic father (Udo Kier), ice-rink employee Andy (Tye Sheridan) is hired as the photographer for Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum), a traveling lobotomist who had plied his icepick to Andy’s mother. As with his previous film Entertainment and especially his 2012 New Jerusalem, Alverson is as interested in studying textures as he is in personalities, both the grimy artificial environments men create for themselves as well as the natural world they find themselves dwarfed by. If Goldblum’s signature performance tics are largely dialed back, then Sheridan — a charisma-free presence in recent mainstream misfires such as Dark Phoenix and especially Ready Player One — barely registers, all slouches with hands jammed in pockets. He’s also ideal for the part in a way a more dynamic performer wouldn’t be. With The Mountain, Alverson also confirms that everybody’s making better David Lynch films these days than Lynch himself.