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Mount Everest,located in the Himalayas, is Earth’s tallest mountain with a peak measured at over 29,000 feet above sea level. The first ascent was made all the way back in 1953. To date, over 250 individuals have lost their lives in attempts to climb this behemoth, although that number is probably much higher in actuality when taking into account unsanctioned climbs. Of the many tragedies that have occurred on Mount Everest, there have been five that have stood out above others (1922, 1970, 1974, 1996, 2014). Baltasar Kormákur’s new adventure thriller Everest focuses on events that took place in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster which ended with eight casualties on May 10th and 11th.
Jason Clarke stars as Rob Hall, an experienced climber and co-founder of a company called Adventure Consultants, who offers premiere guiding services to thrill seekers across the globe looking to summit Everest. There is a long process to get these individuals prepared physically as well as mentally for the grueling task ahead of them. Rob heads off to meet up with his team as well as the group of hopeful men and a woman who are all looking to gain notoriety by standing atop this amazing apex. Their journey will consist of many facets of battle such as man-against-man, man-against-nature and man-against-himself.
Taking on the daunting task of directing Everest is Baltasar Kormákur. He is probably most known for directing Contraband (2012) and 2 Guns (2013), both of which starred Mark Wahlberg. There’s no magical Wahlberg wonder in his latest work so he has to rely on other means to make this movie a success. There’s just so much that Kormákur needed to jam into the allotted two hour runtime that there was somewhat of a lack of empathy for several of the characters involved. Things just kind of drone on and on after a while with interest beginning to wane with each passing minute. The character development proves to be a big challenge as well because everything is fine and dandy as long as people are sitting in a tent conversing normally. Throw in some gale force howling winds, snow covered beards and layers upon layers of protective outerwear and you quickly lose sight of who’s who. Director James Cameron faced a similar challenge with filming the underwater adventure, The Abyss (1989), but was able to overcome it with the ingenious idea of creating a full-faced helmet rather than typical scuba gear. The difference is that Kormákur doesn’t have the luxury of just making something up as he’s dealing with fact, not fiction.
In addition to Jason Clarke, Everest also stars Emily Watson, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Hawkes, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Michael Kelly, Robin Wright and Sam Worthington. That is some very impressive talent. All of their performances are worthy, as long as they can be seen and understood. Casting is definitely not a weak point of this film. The scenery is simply breathtaking as well. If checking this out in theaters, please take the time to appreciate the beauty while you can. It doesn’t last too long and it’s very unlikely that viewers will ever be there to see it in person.
The plus sides to Everest are the breathtaking views as well as the amazing story told. The fact that people choose to attempt these feats every year is just amazing. To risk one’s life to challenge nature is both perplexing and exhilarating to witness. Yet with all of the good that is previously mentioned, the negatives weigh total enjoyment factor down, thus not allowing it to be fully enjoyed. The lack of a clear connection with those in perilous situations causes feelings of emotional ambiguity. Not being able to tell individuals apart affects the flow of empathy of whether to rejoice or mourn their current situation. Everest gets an ‘A’ for effort and ambition but only a ‘C’ for execution.

Everest is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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