Everest is a gripping and harrowing survival thriller based on true events. This is a fucked up and extremely well-executed movie that you’re going to remember. What I loved most about it was the lack of melodrama and the matter-of-fact storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of emotional scenes here but their strength comes from their honesty. It’s not coming from manipulation or “emotional milking” as I like to call this gimmick. We will be following the doomed 1996 Mount Everest expedition led by Rob Hall. As always, you’ll avoid spoilers if you check out what actually happened after the end of the movie.
This is a spellbindingly beautiful movie showing the true and raw beauty of such an imposing mountain. In our modern age, we’re so used to seeing buildings and roads that snowy peaks provide a refreshing break. And in this white kingdom, our technology is of not much help. The movie focuses on the characters and the harsh realities of such an undertaking instead of action. So, this is not Vertical Limit or Cliffhanger. I couldn’t help placing myself in the shoes of each and every climber on this expedition. What would I do and how would I feel if something like that happened to me?
And I was doing all of that from the warm comfort of my home. It’s safe to say that I don’t plan on climbing Mount Everest any time soon. Although I’m sure there will be a couple of you who will feel the call of the wild after this movie. I recommend you check out the base camps first before doing anything serious. Many travel vloggers have already done these tours and they don’t seem as dangerous as the real thing while providing a similar experience. I guess the keyword in that sentence is similar but I digress.
Determined to be as realistic as possible, Everest is a movie reminding us of nature’s brutal indifference to our existence. I’ve watched it at least three times over the past almost nine years. Each time I found new things to think about apart from being totally blown away by the visuals. I didn’t know Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns, Contraband) had a knack for creating these impactful scenes. After this movie, he worked on a couple of projects also taking place in a snowy environment. The first one is an excellent Icelandic television show Trapped while the other one is the Netflix survival thriller Against the Ice.
Now, you should know that during the opening twenty minutes, a lot of characters and events will be hurled at you. Remember that it’s not necessary for you to know every little detail about this movie to enjoy it. Relax and things will settle after the climb starts. The next hour and change will be full of suspense and intensity elevated by superb performances. I don’t use the term an all-star cast lightly, okay, maybe I do, but here the cast was fucking super-duper all-star. I just want to single out Jason Clarke, an underappreciated actor who’s finally getting some big roles. And to make something perfectly clear, Everest will not waste one second of your time.
We won’t be spending the first hour getting to know our characters, their families, and all that other bullshit. No sir, wham bam and we’re in Nepal getting ready to climb Mount Everest. It’s fascinating to watch what these people do for a living, I mean tour guides. And equally fascinating are the preparations for the ascent. However, you can be prepared all you want when nature has other plans in mind. I hate that I just gave nature its persona when in fact it’s just a collection of random effects. I guess that’s just our human nature.
The people we’re going to meet are real people with their own motivations for such a risky endeavor. Actually, if you tried to climb Mount Everest in real life, you would be able to see a lot of dead bodies along the way. The most famous victim of the mountain is the climber known only as Green Boots. He died near a cave and his remains there to this day as a stark reminder of just how dangerous the climb can be. Now, some people have criticized the movie for having too many characters but I think that was actually a really clever move.
Usually, movies focus on a handful of people to make the story more impactful and sadly melodramatic. However, Everest wants to be as realistic as it possibly can be and this is why we will see what the climb actually looks like. And it looks just like this. Finally, I don’t want to end on a sad note but I have to tell you about a disaster that happened during the filming of this movie. While the second unit was finishing the scenes at Everest Base Camp 2, an avalanche struck the Sherpas carrying equipment as the season was about to start. Everest claimed another 16 lives and it will continue to do so because it’s there.
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Cast: Jason Clarke, Emily Watson, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington
Fun Facts: Almost all the radio calls you hear in the movie Everest are authentic, word for word.