This exhilarating, underrated film recounts the mid-19th-century adventures of explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton (Bergin), as he joins with Lieutenant John Speke (Glen) to penetrate the heart of Africa and discover the source of the Nile. Contrasting the elite British society of the day with the wild and mysterious tribal world of East Africa, the story weaves in themes of passion, peril, camaraderie, and betrayal.
Why we love it
The realization of a lifelong dream for director Bob Rafelson ("Five Easy Pieces"), the majestic and visually breathtaking "Mountains" is strong on both adventure and human drama, as Burton and Speke bond on their perilous, arduous journey, then become estranged once back in England. Bergin is perfectly cast as rugged Irishman Burton; rough-hewn and out-of-place, he is a "modern" stuck in Victorian England. Glen is equally credible as the upper-crust Speke, the very personification of Old English values. "Mountains" is consistently fascinating and richly detailed, a must for modern-day explorers at heart.