In a world where people are looking for the next thing to knock their socks off, I can’t say climbing the tallest heights known to man is up there on my list of “how to become famous” (yes I have a list). While I may not be the daredevil of thrilling inspiration, there are a lot of people who are or try to be and that, in essence is what Everest it all about. It is also takes a look at what happens when people who really don’t know what they are doing try to do something as lofty as ascend the highest peak known to man.
It tells the harrowing story of a group of climbers, thrill seekers and rich folk who set out on a trek up the great Everest in 1996. In fact, it is based on a true story and recounts the ins and out of what happened those fateful days on top of that mountain.
Starring an A-List cast with Jason Clake, Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal as title characters, Everest is a pretty intense film. From the standpoint of history accuracy, which a lot of people who lived through the situation aren’t too thrilled with the fact that it lacks that, I can’t say that it was bad or good. As far as the visual appeal and the way it makes you feel seeing these people go through this life or death endeavor, it is enthralling and edge of your seat frightening.
No, it is not a horror film but the things that they go through are horrific. And since I am already the kind of person who finds it hard to watch movies where people are in less than ideal situations, it was all the more terrifying for me. The cinematography of Everest is definitely there. You see it and you’re just in awe. The feel of being on that mountain is certainly there as well as understanding the danger of the elements. You feel the pain of Josh Brolin’s frost bitten face, you feel the desperation and anguish in his wife’s voice (played by Robin Wright) as she speaks to him via a walkie talkie and you feel the fear and sick to your stomach look that the operators in a tent have as they try to help guide the climbers up the mountain and through the many obstacles they face. With Everest, you feel.
With all of that, depending on what you are looking for with this movie, that expectation will really determine your overall experience and whether or not you are “feeling it.” There are some boring moments which is expected and there are some moments that really do take your breath away. I am a disaster movie buff, I love them and this, to me, falls along those lines so all the frills and thrills are there, once again, for me. But if you are one who truly cares about the exposition being close to the real events as they unfolded in 1996, this movie may not be for you.
As I do with all the movies I watch, especially ones that are known for being based on true stories that were pretty big news events, I research them. I want to know how much of what I am seeing on the screen actually happened and if the makers of the film cared enough to keep some kind of parallel semblance in their cinematic efforts. From my understanding, however, that is not what really happened here, which is somewhat disappointing, but not to the point of writing this movie off as a total load of crap. As the director and other players behind the film have said, there were just some things that weren’t important to the telling of this particular angle of the series of events. I can respect that. Not always but here, I’ll take it.
Everest delivers on the suspense and the visual grandeur. It delivers on making you think about how you would handle being in the situation. And honestly, it delivers on making you think twice about taking that trek to the top of Everest if that notion has ever crossed your mind. I can get over all the other questionable stuff for those reasons. I give it a B.
Venice Film Review: ‘Everest’
Reviewed at AMC Century City, Los Angeles, Aug. 26, 2015. (In Venice Film Festival — opener, noncompeting.) MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 121 MIN.
PRODUCTION: (U.K.-U.S.-Iceland) A Universal (in U.S.) release, presented with Cross Creek Pictures, in association with Walden Media, of a Working Title production, in association with RVK Studios and Free State Pictures. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Baltasar Kormakur, Nicky Kentish Barnes, Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson. Executive producers, Angela Morrison, Liza Chasin, Evan Hayes, Randall Emmett, Peter Mallouk, Mark Mallouk, Lauren Selig. Co-producers, David Breashears, David Nichols.
CREW: Directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Screenplay, William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy. Camera (color, Arri Alexa digital, widescreen, Imax 3D), Salvatore Totino; editor, Mick Audsley; music, Dario Marianelli; production designer, Gary Freeman; supervising art director, Tom Still; costume designer, Guy Speranza; sound (Dolby Digital), Adrian Bell; sound designer/supervising sound editor, Glenn Freemantle; re-recording mixers, Ian Tapp, Niv Adiri; special effects supervisor, Richard Van Den Bergh; special effects coordinator, Nina Smith Stevens; visual effects supervisor, Dadi Einarsson; visual effects producer, Roma O’Connor; visual effects, RVX; line producer, Toni Parry; assistant director, Matthew Penry-Davey; casting, Fiona Weir.
WITH: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Michael Kelly, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Martin Henderson, Elizabeth Debicki, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Naoko Mori, Tom Goodman-Hill.