Getting Roped In
So normally when a film finishes there is a low murmur, a bit of shuffling of feet or crinkling of food packets but at the end of Everest there was a raucous stampede as people were eager to leave.
Not because it was a bad film, oh no, it’s because the film gets more and more tense and by the end you too are left gasping for oxygen and a set of fake nails to replace the ones you’ve just wedged into the seats armrests.
I don’t think you’ll be surprised by the plot: people climb a mountain, stuff goes bad. The thing is though, it doesn’t go bad like a typical movie from Hollywood would. Wood would? Whatever.
It’s not that there are avalanches or rock slides or shocking accidents it’s more that the climbing team all push themselves past their limits.
If that sounds dull then think again because a lack of action means it can focus on the fantastic characters; all of whom have very different relatable characteristics.
First up is Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) who is an organiser and a father figure. He is completely selfless and just wants to help everyone achieve their dream as safely as possible. An all round good guy.
Doug Hansen (John Hawkes) is our underdog. A postman. Divorced. He wants to peak to show his children that even the most unassuming person can realise their dreams and achieve greatness.
Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the local extrovert and all round cool dude representing that guy you wish you were!
Last up is Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) who starts out as a massive bellend if I’m honest. He’s your first choice candidate to be the first person facing a grizzly death. Yet the more we get to know him the more him we realise that it’s a facade of a man who doesn’t fit in. It is perhaps an underlying feeling of worthlessness that pushes him, under prepared, into a dangerous situation. He wants the world to humble him and show him how small he is.
Some excellent acting helps you further invest in the characters so by the time they head up to the top you are rooting for all of them. Every trudge into the snow feels like a cliffhanger as you are will them on.
There is a very slow build up to a climactic end and some people may not appreciate the films pace or find the build up to be somewhat uninteresting but that is because this isn’t your average disaster movie.
Even if the place is not to your liking then there are other aspects that should keep your attention such as the stunning cinematography. Every shot feels like it is there for a reason and some excellent color work make the images almost edible especially when you are treated to some stunning vistas.
Although Everest is a mostly predictable affair it is a true story that digs its crampons into you and ropes you in. The tension grows to such an extent that by the end of it you too will walk out the cinema gasping for air and exclaiming “Sod that! I’m happier watching Everest than climbing it”.
- Beautiful cinematogrphy
- The lack of oxygen
- Excellent characterisation
- If you are a climber!
- If you are expecting Cliffhanger 2
- A slow build up