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EVEREST (director: Baltasar Kormakur; screenwriters: William Nicholson/Simon Beaufoy; cinematographer: Salvatore Totino; editor: Mick Audsley; music: Dario Marianelli; cast: Jason Clarke (Rob Hall), Josh Brolin (Beck Weathers), John Hawkes (Doug Hansen), Robin Wright (Peach Weathers), Michael Kelly (Jon Krakauer), Sam Worthington (Guy Cotter), Keira Knightley (Jan Arnold), Emily Watson (Helen Wilton), Jake Gyllenhaal (Scott Fischer), Ingvar Sigurdsson (Anatoli Bourkreev); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Baltasar Kormakur, Nicky Kentish Barnes, Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson; Universal; 2015-U.K.-U.S.-Iceland-3D)
“The film only seems to come to life when showing how challenging is the climband how unpredictable and harsh mother nature can be.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An adventure/disaster pic based on incredible true events on a climbing expedition to the top of Mt. Everest (the world’s highest peak). Tragedy occurs on the way down when the climbers are hit in May, 1996 by a severe snow storm and eight of them perish. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur(“The Deep”/”Inhale”/”Contraband”), in a visually stunning film, filmed at the camp base, shows us the dangers in climbing such a lofty mountain and the fortitude of the climbers who risk their lives. The screenplay is by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, who make a valiant effort to humanize the diverse group of climbers and make us weepy over the outcome.

The New Zealand-born Aussie living Rob Hall (Jason Clarke)is the leader of one group, while the cocky American Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the leader of a rival group. They train together in Nepal. Helen Wilton (Emily Watson) is the efficient and warm-hearted base camp co-coordinator, a mother figure. The amateur climbers of note include the Dallas residing Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), the 47 year old Japanese woman climber (Naoko Mori), the ordinary guy mailman from Seattle Doug (John Hawkes), and the travel writer John Krakauer (Michael Kelly). He wrote the 1997 best-selling book Into Thin Air about his climbing experience.

In cutaway scenes in Dallas and Australia, we observe that Robin Wright is Beck’s supportive wife despite some domestic problems and Keira Knightley is the pregnant supportive wife of Rob, who is anxiously waiting at home for her hubby’s return.

The dramatic personal stories, though emotionally moving, can’t compare to the mountain’s stories–the iconic mountain is the true star of the film. As is said in the pic, “The last word always belongs to the mountain.” The film only seems to come to life when showing how challenging is the climb and how unpredictable and harsh mother nature can be.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”