Take a Drink: for North Face logos
Take a Drink: for discussion of death
Take a Drink: for 3D photos
Take a Drink: for borderline insane pronouncements
Do a Shot: when you need to take a breather
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
This week saw the release of a technical marvel of a mountain-climbing film, featuring mind-boggling vistas, heart-stopping… vistas (and thrills), and a fascinating inquiry into what makes men dare to go where perhaps no men should.
Sorry, Jake Gyllenhaal, I’m not talking about Everest
Meru tells the tale of three intrepid climbers as they twice attempt to summit what may be the most difficult peak ever attempted- the Shark’s Fin of Meru.
As Meru starts immediately with the first attempt, it doesn’t take long for you to wonder who’s holding the camera. It turns out that either Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, or Renan Ozturk, aka your climbers, were- no camera tricks or CGI to be seen. Forget “It feels like you’re really there.” You just ARE there.
And it’s fucking terrifying.
Don’t think that means the cinematography is choppy handheld nonsense. Co-director Chin has an eye for spectacle, and he’s constantly surrounded by it. Also, J. Ralph’s eclectic score melds with the imagery beautifully.
The real achievement of Meru, besides its delivery of thrills unlike any I’ve ever experienced in a theater, however unabashedly gory and heartwrenching in places, is how it delves into the psyches of these three men and their ilk.
As you witness them undergo risks and deprivations that would prove fatal to the vast majority of us, you have to wonder at the determination that drives them. As author John Krakauer, featured several places in the film, will tell you, there’s no easy answer.
Small details, like how Chin’s mother gave her blessing to his high-risk lifestyle once he promised her he wouldn’t die before she did, or the heartbreaking reason why Conrad’s kids don’t look anything like him, give us clues, though, and seeing the absolute devotion each has to supporting each other and a team perhaps is as close as we’ll get. There’s simply no other human bond quite like it.
Incredible in every sense of the word.