‘Everest’, directed by Baltasar Kormákur is a visually engrossing film, filled with stunning vistas and some unbelievably realistic looking mountain top scenes. The film his hurt a little by its crowded – underdeveloped cast, but brings a lot of what it offers together into something unforgettable in the end.
‘Everest’ is the true story of famous mountaineer Rob Hall, played by Jason Clarke, and a group of mostly amateur climbers, who set out to reach the summit of the even more famous mountain. As you’re probably expecting (because why would they make a film about a climb that his happy and successful?) things go very wrong for Hall and his climbers. The film follows their lead up to the infamous climb, and the subsequent downfall of what happened to the people on Mount Everest on May 10th/11th 1996.
From the outset, the thing that will take a tight grip of your attention is the stunning landscapes in which director Baltasar Kormákur fills his film with. From the hectic streets of Nepal, to the peaceful lower areas of Mount Everest and onto the inevitable craziness of Mount Everest’s summit. Kormákur utilises all the tricks at his disposal to bring the world of Everest base camp, and beyond to life. This is a film with a constant feeling of believability running through it. This sense of it all being real does a great service to not only the film, but also to the experience you’ll have watching it. Everyone went all out when it came to bringing this story back to life, in such a way that I actually got more emotionally sucked into this film than I was first expecting (but I’ll dive more into the emotional gut punch that is this film in a moment).
What I want to touch on next is the characters in ‘Everest’, there are a few, and sadly they don’t all get the adequate level of development that not only they deserve, but the film itself deserves. The film comprises of close to 10 characters, and makes the effort to give some level of focus to them all. What this results in is a lot of characters getting hints of who they are, but the majority are boiled down to the bare necessities. I was surprised by this because there are some big/well-known actors filling the shoes of these people. To rattle some off, you have: Jason Clarke as Rob Hall, Jake Gyllenhaal as Scott Fischer, Josh Brolin as Beck Weathers, Keira Knightley as Jan Arnold, Michael Kelly as Jon Krakauer, Robin Wright as Peach Weathers and Sam Worthington as Guy Cotter. That isn’t even everyone in the cast, there are more actors filling more roles within the film.
With such a large number of characters, it doesn’t take long for it to become confusing as to who is who (and lets not even start on how difficult it is to discern who is who when they are all suited up in their heavy duty climbing gear). Things get muddled quickly, and any real attempt to construct some fully realised characters is abandoned soon enough. I really think ‘Everest could have benefited from a longer run time, that way more time could have been afforded to the audience understanding who these people were.
Now something that I feel I should point out, is that despite there being a lack of proper development for the characters, the actors that portray them still do a great job of making you want to form some level of connection with the people who went through this traumatic event. In particular Jason Clarke who is the lead in the film and also the lead on the Everest expedition, Clarke brings a sweet charm to the character, and his interactions with the other characters really help in you forming a bond with the people on the expedition. I personally feel Clarke to be an underrated actor; I’ve always enjoyed him in the films in which I’ve seen him in, even if the films themselves aren’t that good. He is certainly one of the main aspects that’ll pull you deep into the story, and aid in that emotional gut punch I mentioned earlier.
Which brings me onto the story, a story that is simple to follow and understand, but a story that’ll leave you (like it did me) a puddle of emotion at the end. So like I said, ‘Everest’ suffers from some weak character development, but I feel that despite this, when it comes to watching the frightening events on top of Mount Everest unfold, those frustrations will leave, and taking its place will be dread, tension and the hope for these peoples survival. As you can probably guess things go bad in ‘Everest’, and when the craziness a top the mountain kicks off, the film pulls you in and takes a hold of every ounce of your attention. This is one of those films in which people will use the phrase “edge of your seat”. Now while I hate saying terms like that, I can’t agree with it more. ‘Everest’ really does take a hold of you and drag you on this shotgun shell of emotion to the stomach journey.
‘Everest’ takes its time in its build up, but when it hits it hits hard. I will say that the pacing of the film is a little off in the beginning, and the first and last acts are a little oddly structured when allocation of time is considered. You could almost say that the film has a slow ascent at the beginning, then goes crazy when it hits the top and this ends with a slight stumble down the other side. Now it still doesn’t take away from the overall experience, it was just a little odd for me.
I haven’t watched such an emotionally involved film in the cinema for some time and ‘Everest’ was the first to make me feel something as raw as it offers. This is a film that at no point shied away from the harsh reality of the true story. Which is why I think that even though lacks some involving character exploration, that in the end, when it came to the struggle that these people went through on Mount Everest, that the human condition to want to see good people make it out of this unimaginably horrible situation takes over. When that happens the film takes on a whole new experience.
It is for that reason (and the plethora of others) that I will be recommending ‘Everest’. A film filled with powerful moments, unbelievable tension, and a heart breaking tail. ‘Everest’ pulled me in and I think it will as well for you.
So are you interested to see ‘Everest’? Let me know in the comments down below. If you want to keep up with my other reviews, then why not follow me on Twitter,@GavinsTurtle? Finally, have a good weekend.