Is Everest worth the climb or are we just left at base camp?
Changing pace to his usual exploits, Baltasar Kormakur takes us back to 1996 and tells the emotive story of an expedition gone wrong in the fight to climb Everest.
The film itself looks great, although heavily relying on CGI to make up for most of the action, it’s almost impossible to deny the beauty of Everest. Although the story is told well, it does suffer from pacing issues, notably two thirds of the way through. Generally, this issue comes up more than not within the survival genre but it’s enough to disconnect from the subject.
The script seems to do justice to the tragedy, telling the story in a heroic, emotive and terrifying way. There is definitely a story to be told but I was left wondering whether 2 hours was a little too long for it to be told. As mentioned above, there are some pacing issues, but it seems to be down to an actual lack of content rather than lull in action. It seems strange that a film so quick to get to the point then spends a lot of time trying to justify its means of getting there.
For me though, it’s hard to ignore how much the mountain (as a pillar of the script) is ignored. Sure, the story is about the expedition, but the mountain should arguably be at the centre. These films do well when the setting is as much a character as the individuals themselves, but unfortunately, we are never truly given a true glimpse of the mountain and therefore aren’t as immersed as we would hope.
Looking from the outside, it would seem that Everest was trying to put a great cast together. If truth be known, this is another place we run into issues. Sure, a true story like this always bets on its stars to drum up some interest, but after a while it seems a little over done with no one giving us anything outstanding. Jason Clarke is good as the lead but everyone else from Brolin to Knightly just seem to fade in to the background as another famous face tries to make their mark – im still working out where Sam Worthington came from given his career is about as successful as finding the yeti. If im honest, I would have liked to have seen more of Gyllenhaal, but in truth, there probably wouldn’t have been much more of his story to tell.
Overall, Everest is a great platform to tell the story of both tragedy and survival in the wake of extreme mountaineering. As with most true life adaptations, it’s hard to move away from the source material so it does slow down about half way through. Its lack of any stand out performances does hurt the feature but when all is said and done, it definitely does enough to make me never want to climb that mountain.
3.5 out of 5 stars