Everest (M)

In a word: Laborious

Josh Brolin, along with Jason Clarke and Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Everest.

"The pace of the film mirrors the pace of the climbers. Slow. Really slow. I came away feeling like I’d just climbed a mountain myself, but not in a good “wow that film really showed the enormity of the mountain” way. The film was just genuinely tiring because of its lack of substance."

The latest offering from Baltasar Kormakur (director of 2 Guns and Contraband), Everest falls way short of its gargantuan namesake.

Based on the 1996 disaster on Everest in which eight climbers perished after being caught in a blizzard, I can’t help but feel that the film doesn’t quite do those who died there or their stories justice, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, no one seems to have their character entirely developed. There are only glancing reasons given for why the eight climbers are even up there in the first place and any female characters (mostly seen waiting, terrified, by a phone) get lost under an avalanche of acts of bravery by their male counterparts. The only woman who gets somewhat fleshed out is Helen, played by Emily Watson, who acts as the mother-figure of the group on Everest.

Having said that, none of the characters were stand-outs to me. It very much felt like the film was coming from an outsider's point-of-view. A quick Google search gave me more background on the climbers did than the film did in its entirety. The focus was all on the chronology of the events; everything else seemed to get sidelined.

As well as seemingly disinterested in its characters, Everest is a laborious film. At two-and-a-half hours long, coming down the second half of the movie was a feat in itself. The pace of the film mirrors the pace of the climbers. Slow. Really slow. I came away feeling like I’d just climbed a mountain myself, but not in a good “wow that film really showed the enormity of the mountain” way. The film was just genuinely tiring because of its lack of substance.

Aside from the story itself, for a film set on the often unconquerable Mount Everest, this film is remarkably lacking in the spectacle side of things. There are a few shots that demonstrate the danger of being on Everest, but hardly any that show the scale of the thing.

I only had one big question that I wanted answered heading into the film - why people want to risk life and limb (quite literally) to reach the summit? I still don’t really know, and for me, that’s what makes this movie one you could miss.