Peak your interest with Everest.
It’s truly amazing to think what ordinary people will do in the face of their most dreaded obstacles. Set fear aside, and you might have yourself one incredible journey to tell, no matter what the final outcome is. That’s what it feels like to experience Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest, a cinematic feat that breathtakingly brings you to the edge of your seat while simultaneously giving you exactly what you wished for: a genuinely good story.
Everest follows the true events of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster, which is when several different expeditions reached the summit of the mountain, only to be subjected to the misfortune of a blizzard and a handful of avalanches. More specifically, the film focuses on Rob Hall, the leader of the eminent Adventure Consultants that escorts several ambitious climbers to the Earth’s highest peak. Rob takes up the likes of mountain-junkie Beck Weathers and mailman-extraordinaire Doug Hansen. Despite good intentions, the sheer height and lack of oxygen available prove to be drawbacks for the courageous crew of thrill-seekers, leaving them to make some quite life-altering decisions.
At first glance, Everest appears to be the equivalent of an IMAX documentary on steroids, using a subtle storyline to act as narration to the film’s majestic shots of the titular mountain-top. Nevertheless, I was happily surprised to be proved wrong, especially since it’s actually the characters that hold the audience’s interest throughout the 121-minute running-time. This is in large part due to the strong cast of both A-List and soon-to-be recognized actors, including Josh Brolin (Weathers), Jake Gyllenhaal (competing hiker/journalist Scott Fischer) and Jason Clarke (Hall). Together, they embody the true testament of what it takes to even consider scoping such a high elevation, as well as individually manifesting each of the hikers’ personas to present such different, struggling lifestyle-choices.
The hikers only give the mountain (ironically) more depth, allowing subplots of family life and class to enter the mix. However, despite the stereotype mentioned earlier, another big selling point of Everest is the ridiculously rich cinematography. From swooping pan shots to aerial views that will overwhelm your senses, this thriller has your hands sweaty, your jaw to the ground, and your body practically out of the seat. Hence, this film follows parallel to the climbers, leaving the audience’s initial sense of adventure to gradually become a climatic point of suspense and anxiety.
Overall, Everest plays it cool, starting off as a dazzling salute to such a misleading summit. However, over time, it’s the strong sense of drama (and the troubled mountaineers that give said drama its intensity) that leaves you thinking about this visual masterpiece for more than just its cover. Famed critic Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader defends this argument, claiming that despite “all the natural spectacle, the characters are what holds one’s attention.” With this in mind, it’s safe to say that Everest might peak your interest in some way, shape or form. All you need to do is accept the peak.
Everest is playing locally in and around Montclair! Some theaters include AMC Clifton Commons 16, AMC Loews Wayne 14, and even AMC Essex Green Cinema 9 (West Orange). For even more theaters and a list of show times, visit fandango.com today!
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