everest | baltasar Kormákur | william nicholson | simon beaufoy | jason clarke | ang phula sherpa | thomas m. wright | mt. everest | adventure | biography | drama | history | sport | thriller | united kingdom | united states | iceland
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy
Starring: Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa and Thomas M. Wright
This film begins with filling us in on the background of Mt. Everest and those who have climbed it. It states that there was a trend where professional climbers have made it easier for a commercial business to start. It is still risky and experience at climbing is required even to attempt. We also learn that tragedy struck in 1996. That is when this film takes place and these are the events.
We then see one of these businesses. The man who is going to lead the expedition is played by Jason Clarke. His wife is played by Kiera Knightley and she is pregnant with their first child. His partner is Sam Worthington, who is actually going to be leading an expedition similar to this on a mountain next to Everest. There is also Emily Watson in their company who runs the base camp. We learn that a famous journalist is going to join the expedition. Watson asks if he is paying and Clarke tells her only for his plane ticket. It sounds like the business is struggling, but he is trying to get them more publicity.
We then start to meet the people that will be going on this expedition. The journalist mentioned above is played by Michael Kelly. John Hawkes is coming for his third trip, but he has not reached the summit. There is also Josh Brolin, who is in politics and from the looks of it from Dallas. Also part of this team is Ang Phula Sherpa, who is an experienced climber and has topped Everest multiple times. Martin Henderson is also coming along as well. Naoko Mori is another one that is coming, as she has climbed 6 of the 7 highest peaks in the Himalayans with Everest being the last.
Clarke gets everyone to base camp where they are introduced to Watson as well as the doctor they have hired; she is played by Elizabeth Debicki. While at base camp we learn that this is not the only group that is going up. Jake Gyllenhaal is leading his own team to the summit as well. There is a friendly competition between him and Clarke, as it also seems like Clarke ‘stole’ his journalist away. He has Vanessa Kirby with his group, which Gyllenhaal is not upset about.
The film goes through what the risks of making this climb is. They are high up where the air is thinner and hard to breath. It also takes a toll on the human body as well. They have to climb a glacial path to start, where many do not get over because it is constantly changing. The experienced climbers have set up ropes and ladders, but that doesn’t mean there is no danger. They also have to have extra oxygen, as the brain can make you do crazy things with a lack of it. There are also lung and blood issues that can arise. Not to mention, the weather is ever changing so they need to climb when it is as calm as they can get it.
Brolin is married to Robin Wright. They have two children together and Brolin lets us in on that he may be running away from his life. Wright is happy to hear from him, even though he is missing their anniversary. Much like Knightley, she just wants him home safe. Brolin told her that he would never climb another mountain, but here he is.
They do run into some storms, but it does seem like they have chosen a good time to attempt this. During the early climb there is wind and snow. When they make it to one of their last campsites, the weather calms down and they start their final ascent. There is problem with ropes that Henderson encounters, so he and another climber need to set up new ones. Brolin has to stop short of the summit when his eyes start are to act up and he cannot see. Hawkes also gets left behind as his body cannot take it. Gyllenhaal and Clarke also decided to work together to get everyone they can to summit, but Gyllenhaal is running into his own physical issues.
Everyone from Gyllenhaal’s group makes the top. Clarke has everyone except Hawkes and Brolin. They start their descent when Clarke is stopped by Hawkes. He won’t give up and convinces Clarke to take him to the summit. Worthington sees them at the top and knows there is something wrong. They should be much farther down the mountain than what they are. Kelly finds Brolin and tells him that someone will help him down shortly, as he still cannot see well. The group runs into the issue that they don’t have extra oxygen; Henderson finds only a couple half full tanks.
Worthington contacts Watson to warn her about the people he sees at the summit and that a storm is coming through. This has high winds and snow, making it nearly impossible to get down. Can they all make it or will the mountain claim her victims?
I have to say that the best part of this film for me was seeing all the footage so high up of Everest. I have learned that they did borrow footage from documentaries to help show how majestic it is up there and I’m glad they did. Coming in I didn’t realize how many famous actors and actresses were in this film. I definitely glad I gave it a shot as the acting was good. The story is great as it is based on a true story, but it is also sad and scary to see what they were dealing with. The film does a great job at building the tension of what they had to deal with and gave me a sense of foreboding, hoping that everyone makes it.
Now I have to say that this film is a little slow for me at times. A lot of what happens is that people just stop moving due to cold or physical things that are happening due to limited air. It does feel you with a sense of dread, but it is not like other films where things are forcing them to keep going. This is something the film has to deal with and there isn’t an alternative. I did see my attention slipping at times during this though.
I am adding this to the horror film research due to the dread and horror of what they dealt with. Now I know that everyone in this film decided to come on this trip, so they put themselves in the situation. With that said though, you hope to make it to the top and get down as fast as possible. It is scary when a storm comes out of no where, trapping you there. It is also scary to see the effects of being that high up has the human body and what it makes some of them do.
I would recommend seeing this film. You can watch this just for the images of being that high up and what it looks like from being on the mountain. The acting is good. The story is based on a true story, which makes this even scarier that people had to deal with this. It does get a little slow at times when they are forced to hunker down due to the storm, but it continues to fill you with dread as you hope they can survive the ordeal. This is a pretty solid film about the beauty and horror of nature and the human spirit as we try to conquer it.
My Rating: 7 out of 10