During the 1990s, climbing Mount Everest changed from a challenge for professional climbers to a more commercialised prospect. In 1996, two such expeditions took to the mountain but everything did not go to plan.
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Staring: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Jake Gyllenhaal
Run Time: 121 Minutes
Release Date: Out Now
Everest portrays the events of those fateful expeditions and focuses on how , when challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the two groups must survive against nearly impossible odds.
Enter expedition leader Rob Hall, played by Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys, Zero Dark Thirty), and his rival Scott Fischer, Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Prisoners), who along with two other expeditions are all wanting to attempt the summit Everest on the same day.
Seeds of this commercialisation are dotted around the movie, including print and TV media joining expeditions, a Starbucks coffee cup strategically placed and plenty of product placement for certain outdoor clothing companies.
Throughout its runtime, there are plenty of set ups and tropes, which come to fruition later in the movie, giving the whole story a predictable feel. It’s a disaster movie set on a mountain so there are some obvious elements of predictability, you know what’s coming but when will it happen and who will survive?
It’s that drama and tension that makes this an entertaining movie, built up throughout the story by the back and forth between the climbers on the mountain, the team at base camp and the families back at home.
The stunning shots of Everest, cutting to the climbers on the mountain, really make you believe that they are actually on the mountain and they show how treacherous Everest is. The quote that sums it all up is “The last word always belongs to the mountain”.
This is one movie that is worth going to see in 3D, IMAX if you’re lucky enough to be near one. The amazing scenic views of the Himalayas as the expedition make their way to base camp then onto Everest itself are just breath-taking, showing the scale of the mountain it all its glory.
Hollywood is, of course, well known for bending the truth for dramatic flair, sometimes that works out well and other times it takes away from the heart of the story.
When it comes to producing a true story on this scale, though, it can be exceptionally hard to be faithful to the real events while at the same time making it dramatic for the viewer.
Many directors might have chosen the latter over the former but director Baltasar Kormakur (Contraband, The Deep) balances this perfectly to create a movie worthy of the cinema going experience rather than the “made for TV” movie it could have been.
Everest isn’t likely to appeal to everyone but for those that do enjoy this genre of movie it shouldn’t disappoint. With stunning scenery, a good calibre of acting from not only the main stars but also the extended cast and a story that will keep your attention, this movie is definitely worth a watch.