Recently Jon Krakauer said that Everest is ‘total bull’. He obviously wasn’t discussing the quality of the film. Everest may not be the most factually accurate retelling of the dramatic events that occurred in ’96, but it does an admirable job of telling the dangers of Earth’s highest mountain.
One is hit like a snowball to the groin by the majesty of the mountain. The Nepalese location strangely fails to feel foreign, as modern culture has adapted many of the mountainous elements into the mainstream (Far Cry 4 springs to mind.) Yet as soon as the goliath structure creeps onto the horizon, it rightly overwhelms all that happening around it. Director Baltasar Kormákur and D.O.C. Salvatore Totino couldn’t help but reap the truly remarkable visuals that frame the picture in a film born for IMAX.
These visual marvels are to be expected as a minimum. Placed alongside a tense story of endurance and suffering, I was expecting a certain level of emotion, but I was not prepared for the amount of tears I produced. In the film’s last thirty minutes I cried more than a snowman on a warm Spring evening. However, this outpouring of fluid was not a constant as earlier emotion hit and missed. As one may expect, there are several separate strands of emotion but where one hooks deep into a heart-string, another will fall by the wayside.
Yet, Everest isn’t all awe and bawl. It is an emotion-driven action film, held up by a pair of strong performances. I am not here talking of Jake Gyllenhaal, who is perfectly fine playing a charismatic radical, but is not the central character the advertising portrayed. Think Bryan Cranston in Godzilla.
Everest is a Jason Clarke film and like in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Clarke is a more than adequate leading man. He feels like a normal, relatable guy with genuine ambitions and moral standing. He is precisely the role he was cast for. He is overshadowed though by another excellent performance by Josh Brolin. Playing the “100% Texan” Beck Wethers, Brolin is a goldfish in the ocean. Expecting to be ready for the step up, Beck finds Everest to be a totally different beast to any he’s tackled before. Holding the duality of arrogance and vulnerability, Brolin’s Beck shines. Saying that, he would not do so without the forever fantastic Robin Wright to reflect off.
Everest is as changeable as the mountain itself. It will overpower you with an avalanche of tension and emotion and then disappoint you with a hazy outlook. Whereas the mountain itself may be the zenith for mountaineers, for cinephiles Everest rarely threatens to be anything more than a Mount Snowdon.
Trailer Time: Everest – Click Here
Header courtesy of moviepilot. Images courtesy of the Guardian, indiewire and Everest-movie.co.uk respectively.