Film, OldVenue

Review: Everest

Are you the type of person who still wears a jumper in summer? Gets brain freeze from ice-cream? Or has to watch Happy Feet 2 with a hot water bottle under a winter duvet? If so, chilling blockbuster Everest is may not be the film for you.

Everest begins with the coming together of climbers from different parts of the word, all uniting under the collective goal of reaching the top of the tallest mountain in the world. With the help of protagonist Rob Hall played by Jason Clarke the gang begin training to adjust their bodies to the extreme conditions of such a feat. Set in 1996, Everest is becoming a holiday camp for climbers as they join organizations selling adventure packages.These ‘holidays’ offer seasoned climbers to guide you to and from the summit. Sounds almost too good to be true right? The movie plods on slowly like an expedition only picking up pace as the climbers reach the top. What comes next is a race to descend the mountain in time as weather conditions deteriorate with mother nature taking the final hour of the film into her own hands.

The backdrop of this film is fantastic. At times even the stinted dialogue and clichés hint at the fate of the characters such as: ‘I just hope we all make it’. But in the face of the occasionally dodgy lines, the wonderfully sterile and magnificently beautiful glaciers take over and become the star performers. This is a film that was made for 3D and should be watched in 3D. The shots of ice, snow and the surrounding landscape are a marvel to watch, yet all the while ominous and imposing.

Like Chekhov’s gun, Mount Everest is a static but ever present part of the first half of the film that waits patiently before ultimately causing havoc and chaos. Based on the story of a tragic expedition, you sit down knowing that a grim outcome awaits you. In certain ways this adds to the movie as the dramatic irony it provides makes for a very uneasy start to the film as characters gleefully get to know each other over beers and talk about how excited they are to see their families again.

What is problematic about this film is that ,at times, the smaller moments are eclipsed by the big. Yes this is a big film about a big mountain, but it should also be a depiction of human relationships and an analysis of the self- destructive human condition. At times Everest touches upon these moments of truth and honesty, but it never really confronts the major issue of why? Why are these people risking their lives and what truly compels people to leave their homes and travel thousands of miles to subject themselves to pain and torture?

When encountered with the words ‘based on a true’ story many people would be forgiven for being a little cynical. In the past, films that have used the aforementioned phrase, have forsaken plot and backstory, for over dramatic explosions, lengthy action sequences and tired dialogue. Everest is a film that fights against this trope but unfortunately falls into a few traps of the disaster movie genre. The climbers regurgitate lines that have been spoken one thousand times before, while fringe characters blend into the background like snow.

Like the mountain, the film Everest is a spectacle and whatever you may think about the characteristics or the heartstrings that are so deliberately pulled in a very Hollywood manner it is impressive. At times you can really feel the cold and get lost in the immaculate whiteness of the surroundings. The cinematography is outstanding and an honourable mention goes out to performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and John Hawkes who create complex and affable characters through wonderful supporting roles.

The movie ultimately goes out of its way to truthfully depict what happened on that climb all those years ago. It is about half an hour too long and does skim over important character development but what it does deliver is a real cinematic experience that delves into the literal and at times emotional highs and lows of climbing mountains; a group of humans reaching towards the almost impossible.

If you have a spare evening get out from under your blankets, put on 3D glasses and a woolly hat and enjoy Everest for it’s sheer size, vision, and at times beauty.

[su_pullquote]Well put together and a real visual treat in 3D. The film falls short in its lack of character depth and reliance on disaster movie tropes.[/su_pullquote] Yes

+Brilliant camera work

– Cliched lines

-Bit too long


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January 2022
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