The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Everest follows the tragic events that occurred in May 1996 on Mt. Everest when a blizzard struck the mountain, stranding climbers during their descent. The film boasts a cast of great names, some known more than others and is directed by the exciting, up and coming director Baltasar Kormákur (Two Guns, Contraband). However Everest is not your typical disaster film, it plays it straight giving focus to the men and women involved in the events of 1996 and depicting their journey, as opposed to your typical Michael Bay disaster film which goes crash, bang, wallop.
Going into Everest you know your not in for an enjoyable journey, sort of like watching Schindler’s List, there is no dramatic, exciting pay off at the end, and the use of the word ‘enjoy’ would not be the first choice on my tongue. However Everest is a solid film, with unsurprisingly great acting that amplifies the tragedy surrounding the events it is based on.
Jason Clarke, finally takes the lead in a film, and is undoubtedly heading for more success. It doesn’t feel like too long ago he starred in Chicago Code and made it so enjoyable to watch. Clarke has went from strength to strength and is an actor I’ll be eagerly anticipating any performance from. Clarke is brilliantly supported by a choice cast of actors and actresses, with Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Kelly and Emily Watson all breathing believable life into their characters.
There was one character I personally felt that was missing from the film though, and that was felt Mt. Everest itself. The hazardous mountain didn’t come across as treacherous as it could have, granted the weather was the cause of the issues but Everest was the obstacle. Some big sweeping shots of the landscape added scale to the film, but aside from the deadly icefall area of Everest that involves ladders and shifting ice, the mountain itself wasn’t presented as much of a threat as the blizzard and cold. As a director, shot selection must be tough for a film like this, despite the scenic beauty of the landscape there is not much else to fill the frame with.
I’d recommend Everest but it is not a wholly enjoyable experience, there are moments of salvation but ultimately it comes down to tragedy which is most certainly felt by the end of the film. I’d be very surprised if it is part of the Oscar race come next year, but it is a film worth your time, especially if you find disaster films your cup of tea.