I think it’s safe to say I didn’t fancy trying to climb Everest before I watched this film and I definitely don’t want to climb it now. This epic disaster movie, directed by, Baltasar Kormákur is so gripping and emotionally draining it left me reeling. Written by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, Everest (2015), retells the harrowing true account of climbers from two commercial expeditions to the mountains summit in 1996.
As the film starts we are introduced to Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) from Adventure Consultants, we watch him kiss his pregnant wife goodbye. We are privy to the southern warmth of Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) and we get to see the nonchalant coolness that is, Scott Fisher (Jake Gyllenhaal), from competing group, Mountain Madness. As the main characters filter in from sunny airports and family homes, they descend further and further into the harsh white landscape of Nepal. They tell you more about their lives, their reasons for climbing the mountain. We see them laugh, we see the rival groups clash. We see them briefed on how dangerous Everest can be, we see them walk past the dead bodies of other climbers, and we know it is all going to go wrong. Everybody is being set up to die – nobody is safe. Usually trying to guess who will live and who will die is the best part about these films, but for some reason, Everest wasn’t fun like that. Everest got to me in a way that hasn’t ever happened before. My palms were sweating as Beck wobbled across a ladder, my stomach churned in knots as the storm rolled in. Why? I didn’t want any of the characters to die.
The unusually sympathetic character build-up in this otherwise wholly conventional disaster movie was what sold it for me. There is always one guaranteed arsehole in these sorts of films making stupid decisions that will undoubtedly bring the pain to the characters you enjoy. They have you shouting: “No!” at the screen. They have you screaming: “I told you so!”
A bit like Viggo Mortensen in Daylight, he is the ‘token arse’ who is so sure he can solve the problem that he makes it worse. Or you could look at Bill Paxton in Vertical Limit using all of the gas for himself, either way there is always one. You may disagree, but I found while on the whole, some incredibly bad decisions were made; but they were made out of selfless actions. In fact many of the characters meet their icy demise trying to help each other out, which is of course based on the true accounts of the actual disaster on Everest all those years ago. It’s very intriguing that until now, Hollywood has told us that in a life or death situation, one of us is going to go insane. Everest teaches us that these kinds of awful events happen in the style of Final Destination, rather than one man on a mission to be an arse. There is always more than one factor to consider, whether it be human or nature they will work together to essentially work against you.
The feeling of anxiety and of discomfort that I felt after watching Everest was perhaps because I knew going into the film that most of those individuals were dead before they even stepped foot on the mountain. Back when they were in sunny airports and kissing their families? Yep, they were dead. All the health tests, training and equipment didn’t matter, they may as well have been a big group of unprepared baby pigs because on that day things had already been set in motion that were beyond their control.
An absolutely thrilling and intense watch that will draw you in and then spit you back out. Everest is the best disaster movie of 2015!
Everest reviews that get my ‘Fist of Approval’:
A well written and well balanced review, kudos on your sign off about feeling cold. I enjoyed that.
A brilliant review, good tone and does evoke a chuckle. The highest I have ever been was this one time when I was at my friends par…
If you are interested in one particular aspect then this review is brilliant, it has everything broken down into subheadings