Mountain, The: Alverson’s Ambitious Film Premieres at Venice Film Fest

When The Mountain was first announced, the period drama, which Alverson wrote with Dustin Guy Defa and Colm O’Leary, was billed as the story of “a young man who lost his mother and, raised by his emotional stunted father, and goes to work with a doctor who performs lobotomies and shock therapy.”

The Mountain receives its world premiere (in competition) at the 2018 Venice Film Fest.

“He’s something special,” Jeff Goldblum said of  director Alverson. “I loved his movies, and I loved ‘Entertainment,’ particularly. This is a different movie. I want to stay in this world, seeing everything through his eyes.”

Set in 1954, The Mountain features Jeff Goldblum playing a character based on Dr. Walter Freeman, who pioneered the lobotomy (he did Rosemary Kennedy’s lobotomy). “This is an extrapolation of that kind of character. Drugs have come in, so it’s very controversial what I’m doing.”

Goldblum’s Dr. Wallace Fiennes, has “pioneered a way of doing it, like Freeman did, through the eyeball, with my own kind of ice pick. I’m trying to teach people in these institutions, where my name isn’t mud totally yet, and I’m trying to shore up my legacy. Teach people how to do it quickly, and do a lot more lobotomies.”

Wallace’s quest for legacy brings him into contact with different characters, played by Udo Kier, Denis Lavant, and Hannah Gross.   He also gets mixed up with Tye Sheridan’s Andy.

Goldblum says: “I take this kid with me on the road in the Pacific Northwest. He’s lost his father, and I’ve lobotomized his mother, and so I take him under my wing, get him to photograph me doing these .”

“He’s the leader of a cult, a new age kind of cult near Mount Shasta,” Goldblum said. “He’s leading these people in these kind of Americana, religioso, hysterical chanting.”

The film’s ending reminds me a little of ‘The Florida Project,’” where, by at the end, we see an iconic American mythical ideal, in juxtaposition to the real psyche of America and conditions of America, spiritually and otherwise, which leave something to be desired.”