Everest – Movie Review

EverestEverest – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 25 Sep 2015

Everest is based on a true story of a 1996 climbing expedition that went horribly wrong. The movie introduces us to an impressive ensemble cast before covering the majority of them in thermal climbing gear and snow. The size of the cast can be confusing to keep up with, particularly in scenes where the faces are hidden and we haven’t memorized who is wearing what. But the work done in the first act to establish each character’s personalities and motivations does a great job of making us care about everyone involved.

In particular, Jason Clarke gets the majority of the focus as leader Rob Hall. Clarke is excellent here and shows Rob to be a caring man who is constantly trying to maintain the border between what his paying clients want and what’s going to keep them alive. Josh Brolin plays Beck Weathers, a Texan who defied his wife’s ultimatum to make the dangerous climb. John Hawkes is Doug Hansen, a down on his luck man that Rob brought back after telling him to return within meters of the top the year before for safety reasons. Keira Knightley plays Rob’s pregnant wife stuck at home in New Zealand. To list just a few more: Robin Wright is Beck’s wife, Jake Gyllenhaal is a fun loving leader in a separate expedition, Emily Watson runs the base camp and Sam Worthington plays mountaineer Guy Cotter.

While many movies based on true stories feel formulaic – especially these “man vs. nature” stories – Everest feels very subdued and well paced. Character arcs don’t follow the normal trajectories. When a character dies, it’s not related to karma – it just happens. This keeps you guessing until the very end when the movie cuts to an epilogue about what happened to each character along with photos of the real person. The movie feels more like a very high budget re-enactment rather than an adaptation.

The visuals are amazing with a couple of nifty “how did they do that?” shots and some very subtle CGI. We saw it in IMAX 3D and if you have the chance to do so and enjoy really well done adventure movies I highly recommend seeing Everest.

Aaron, Cal and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car:


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