When their plane crashes on a remote snow-covered mountain, Jane and Paul have to fight for their lives as the only remaining survivors. Together they embark on a harrowing journey out of the wilderness.
In Survive, an adventure drama now streaming on STARZ, Sophie Turner not playing a bestie of Taylor Swift but Jane Salas, a woman suffering from serious drug addiction, PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicidal issues- take your pick or mix and match- must survive with the help of Paul Hart (Corey Hawkins), an super supportive black man, a bungle suicide attempt, an airplane crash and a trek through the Cascade Mountains between Oregon and Montana.
There is enough elements of surreality and un-believability merged with wish fulfillment fantasies and nightmare emotional responses to the whole journey that had me believing the director-Mark Pellington was attempting some recovery metaphor. Jane and Paul are never seen scrounging for food, and make the trek with numerous bruises, scratches and cuts without a limp. The ending like the beginning occurs in a hospital ward, dark replacing the glowing light of day streaming through the big windows.
The snow drenched mountains presents Jane with a stark choice- death by starvation, loneliness or life (recovery) through assistance that gets her through the tough trek towards wellbeing, sanity, living in peace with herself and the wrongs of the past.
Since this occurs during Christmas, Survive can be seen as a weird, stripped down version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Survive doesn’t playoff this symbolic subtext too much, just hints at it- that some sort of personal miracle is happening.
Christmas and suicides are linked together by the fact that along with gift giving, self annihilations rise dramatically during the holiday. Those denied happiness are most vulnerable to death’s call when other people are their most happy. It’s unsurprising that the suicide theme It’s a Wonderful Life is a rewatched Holiday classic.
In Survive, an act of God, the air crash, becomes a saving grace. The cinematography by David Devlin give an endless white Christmas look. For the open-eyed there is bounty and salvation everywhere. Jane just needs the snow to melt to see it.
Conviction from both leads goes a long way to making this contrivance in storytelling effective. The gradual breaking down of her suicidal tendencies only goes as far as Sophie Turner’s determination to be convincing. In Survive, Turner is good enough to make it work.
Survive gets a 3,5 out of 5 or a B+.
- Genre: Adventure, Drama, Mystery & thriller
- Original Language: English
- Director: Mark Pellington
- Producer: Richard Abate, Cary Granat, Ed Jones, Van Toffler
- Writer: Richard Abate, Jeremy Ungar
- Release Date (Streaming): Jun 20, 2023
- Runtime: 1h 48m
- Distributor: Freestyle Digital Media
- Production Co: EMH Consulting Group, Gunpowder & Sky