Take a Drink: for foreshadowing dialogue more obvious than the Cop movie cliché of “It’s my last day on the job!”
Take a Drink: for every character who dooms themselves in the name of personal achievement
Do a Shot: for product placement from The North Face
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) is Mount Everest’s most prominent expedition leader in the mid 1990s. His company “Adventure Consultants” is the biggest, and most successful organization dedicated to helping amateur climbers up to the summit, and getting them back alive. His company is accused by some competitors as hand-holding those not truly ready to take on the mountain by themselves. Hall takes his work seriously, though, and in 1996 is more determined than ever to see that his clients get the whole Everest. Hall teams up with Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) of another guide company to bring a large number of people up the mountain, including Dr. Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), and mailman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes). Shortly after reaching the summit, a heavy storm hits the peak, and disaster strikes the climbing team, throwing them in a torturous struggle to survive the freezing conditions.
The story of the famously ill-fated 1996 Everest expedition led by seasoned Everest guide Rob Hall is retold in this brutal and beautifully-shot adaptation by Director Baltasar Kormákur. The brutal elements are starkly demonstrated in the film. Every pained step of the oxygen-deprived group is felt as they ascend. As storms pummel the climbing team, the camera closes in on the characters, to emphasize that while they’re out in the open, their situation is as claustrophobic as it gets. This is contrasted with shots of the serene beauty of Everest in good weather, which provide the audience with a few good reasons why a daring adventurer may want to conquer the mountain.
The film’s principal cast is excellent, portraying the kind of eccentric personalities which are attracted to the mountain. Josh Brolin is particularly fascinating as Beck Weathers, whose ballsy Texan attitude is given a re-education by the harsh conditions, which test his resolve to the limits. Jason Clarke is formidable as Rob Hall, displaying great care and empathy in a role that could easily have been portrayed as a braggart.
The screenplay sometimes telegraphs the ultimate fate of characters long in advance. Foreshadowing is not by any means a dramatic flaw, but when nearly every character who doesn’t make it out alive has a scene earlier in the movie talking about their big plans for the future, it becomes a bit tedious. That said, these scenes are mostly stacked at the front of the movie, and once the ascent up Everest begins, the focus is on the character’s present situation. Dialogue becomes sparse, as the thin air quite literally takes their words out of their mouths.
If Everest has any glaring flaws, it would be the plots’ refusal to address some of the more controversial aspects of the 1996 disaster. While references are made to the large number of people attempting to ascend, and to the relative inexperience of some of the climbers, the filmmakers would have been advised to take a more prominent stand on the subject. Certainly, anyone daring enough to challenge Everest is a brave individual; however, there never seems to be any questions lodged at decisions made by the team, some of which are clearly fateful.
Despite a few minor faults, Director Baltasar Kormákur guides the audience up the summit, and then shoves them off a shear cliff-face.