Skip to main content

Incredibles 2 All-New Teaser Trailer, Poster & Image

Movie Review: Everest

Mountain film has a molehill of dramatic stakes.

Review by Brandon Wolfe

In May of 1996, a large collection of climbers attempted to scale the perilous heights of Mount Everest. Led by expedition leader, New Zealander Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), most of the party were experienced climbers, including Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) a doctor embarking on a personal mission to climb the Seven Summits, and Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), a mailman who had made a previous run at Everest the year before. Rob’s group also consisted of a journalist, Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), on assignment to document the voyage. A parallel climbing party, led by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), forged an uneasy alliance with Rob’s to increase overall safety with greater numbers. Back at base camp is Helen Wilton (Emily Watson), running Rob’s operation from a safer distance, while Rob’s pregnant wife Jan (Keira Knightley) wisely stays home, confident in her husband’s expertise keeping him safe.

This is the setup for Everest, the dramatization of the true story of this disastrous excursion. Mount Everest, never a safe destination point under the most optimal circumstances, proves catastrophic for these thrill seekers, as a series of brutal storms conspires to rob the climbers of their personal triumph and, for many of them, their lives. Some reach the top, some make it back alive, but none would walk away from this experience feeling victorious.


The first hour of Everest proves nearly as difficult to surmount as the mountain itself. As we are introduced to each member of the climbing party, it becomes readily apparent that none of these actors are being granted roles rich with characterization. There’s a general bonhomie among the climbers that never surpasses the level of blandly genial. Similarly, the muted animosity between the rival parties never reaches anything approaching a boiling point of hostility, never resulting in something like compelling tension. This entire first half is crafted so that watching these people climb, largely without incident, is the only objective, and impressive vistas aside, that minimal level of dramatic investment, coupled with the minute character development, doesn’t give the audience much of a rooting interest in anything. The last thing anyone could call climbing Mount Everest would be boring, but that label fits neatly with the experience of watching others do it.

Of course, the relative uneventfulness of Everest’s first half is clearly calibrated to lull the audience into a sense of calm before all Hell breaks loose in the second half, as it inevitably does. When a vicious storm takes hold while the parties are approaching the summit, the climbers gets scattered. Rob is stuck at the top with a rapidly fading Doug, while Beck finds himself too weak to retreat. It’s here that Everest essentially becomes misery porn, as we watch the climbers gradually succumb to death and frostbite, helpless to do much to save themselves from the elements and out of range for outside rescue. Apart from one character’s miraculous second wind of endurance, this is not a story of heroics or tyranny of will leading doomed men to persevere against treacherous odds. This is a tragedy, plain and simple, yet the film’s weak characterization, or even ability to adequately distinguish these mostly bearded, parka-covered men from one another, makes it very difficult to become emotionally engaged in any of their fates.


It’s hard to fathom what attracted this impressive assemblage of actors to this film. None of these roles give performers as exemplary as Gyllenhaal and Brolin much to do beyond looking miserable and cold. Everest doesn’t look like it was an enjoyable film to make on a physical level, but the characters are so thinly defined that it’s impossible to surmise what the professional rewards were for the cast, either. Gyllenhaal, in particular, has become one of our most interesting actors, so to see him used to such little effect here is dismaying, to say the least.

Everest is impressively shot, if nothing else. It feels effectively harsh and unforgiving, and it’s impossible to discern just how much of the film was greenscreened given its level of you-are-there authenticity. Though apart from an overhead shot of the group crossing a suspension bridge at the outset of their journey, the film makes astonishingly minimal effort to convey the dizzying heights of its locale, even to the extent that a lowbrow actioner like Cliffhanger once did. Everest exploits one’s fear of freezing to death far more acutely than it does one’s fear of heights.

Walking out of Everest, there is little to recommend beyond basic filmmaking acumen. There isn’t much to glean here beyond the experience of watching people climb and die, both occurring with grueling sluggishness. The greatest takeaway from the film is, quite simply, how nice it feels to walk outside into a warm September evening after it’s over.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Brandon Wolfe at @BrandonTheWolfe.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Morbius: The Living Vampire Film In The Works

The Spider spin-offs keep on coming! With Venom now shooting, an even more obscure character from the web-slinger's extensive comicbook past has now been unearthed, with plans for a movie. Power Rangers writing duo Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless are in talks to craft the script for Morbius: The Living Vampire.

Sony is pushing ahead with another potential Spider-movie, which, like Venom, is unlikely to be linked to the MCU. What it will boast, however, is the story of Michael Morbius, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who tries to cure a rare blood disease using an experimental treatment that combines electroshock therapy and vampire bats. The results are predictably catastrophic, and he's transformed into... well, the title should be a clue. He has some of the traditional vampiric qualities – he ingests blood to live, and conversely is not fond of bright light. He can fly, has superhuman strength and healing capabilities. When he bites victims and drinks their blood, his attac…

Enter For A Chance To Win A Family Four Pack To See COCO In Minnesota

© 2017 Disney/Pixar Enter for your chance to win a family four pack to see COCO in Minnesota on November 15th at 7:30PM.

In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” aspiring musician Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal) on an extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead.



In theatres November 22!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER-

Website: movies.disney.com/coco
Facebook: /PixarCoco
Twitter: @pixarcoco
Hashtag: #PixarCoco

While supplies last. Once all allotted passes are redeemed, the code will no longer be valid. Supplies are limited.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Limit one (1) admit-two pass per person. This film is rated PG. Must be 13 years of age or older to win passes. Employees of all promotional partners and their agencies are not eligible. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by [12:00PM], [11-19-2017] to be eligible to receive pass. Winners will be contacted via e-mail to receive their pass. Sponsors not responsible for…

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See DARKEST HOUR In Dallas

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See DARKEST HOUR on December 5th at 7:00 PM in Dallas

During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms. As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman). While maneuvering around his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds. Directed by Joe Wright, DARKEST HOUR is the dramatic and inspiring story of four weeks in 1940 during which Churchill’s courage to lead changed the course of world history.



CLICK HERE TO ENTER-

#DarkestHour
http://www.DarkestHourFilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/darkesthourfilm
https://twitter.c…