DVD Review: Deep Winter

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Mikey Hilb’s Deep Winter follows Tyler (Eric Lively), a professional downhill skier who leaves his ski team after an incredibly poor performance. He’s soon persuaded to ski again after he meets childhood friend, Mark (Kellan Lutz) who’s starring in an extreme winter sports movie, shooting in one of Alaska’s most dangerous mountain ranges. They are joined by a cautious helicopter pilot with a troubled past (Michael Madsen) and movie producer (Luke Goss).

Despite  Deep Winter’s fairly interesting concept, it lacks the personality and excitement that a good sports movie should have. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is simply a ninety minute advert for ESPN’s winter season or an extended North Face advert as it’s essentially countless skiing/snowboarding shots chucked together with a loose narrative and irrelevant dialogue. At points, it’s hard to deny that these sports shots are fairly impressive, with Deep Winter featuring some very watchable stunts. Unfortunately, the impact and tension of these scenes is thrown away through mechanical direction and clunky editing. There’s several scenes in the film where you may wonder if they’ve even tried to disguise the fact that it’s not the actors doing the stunt work, which really leaves the film with a detached, cheap feeling.

Despite being billed as an ‘involving story of loyalty, friendship and courage’, Deep Winter suffers from some incredibly drab lead performances and some poorly written characters. Kellan Lutz’s character is particularly annoying  and both he and Eric Lively (Ironic surname?) fail to ignite the screen.  The ‘long friendship’ between the pair never feels overly developed and is never particularly convincing. However, the occasional Michael Madsen appearance proves entertaining and he’s always a big scene stealer but it did lead me to question whether he actually reads scripts before signing onto them? Luke Goss also does well but his character is not given a huge amount to do apart from stand and look enthusiastically at the skiing and snowboarding. His character does states that he wants to make ‘the benchmark for extreme sports movies’, I hate to break it to you Luke, but I don’t think this is going to be it.

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you may be left feeling more impressed than the average viewer. Deep Winter may feature some impressive stunts but ultimately lacks the style, performances and narrative to become an entertaining extreme-sports film.

Rating: 2/5


Reviewer: Andrew McArthur
Rated: 12 (UK)
Release Date: 17th October, 2011
Director: Mikey Hilb
Cast: Eric LivelyKellan LutzMichael Madsen and Luke Goss