Cast: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson
Directed by: Baltasar Kormakur
Duration: 2 hrs
Rating: * * * 1 / 2
Based on the true story of a mountain climbing expedition that took place in 1996, Everest takes a slightly different approach to the story-telling than the conventional Hollywood movies. The studios love ‘disaster’ movies wherein they can show case mass scale destruction with special effects but there isn’t a great deal of scope to do that on rather lonely and arduous trekking trip to mount Everest. The story then focuses on the human element of the one way trip undertaken by a bunch of non-professionals coming from different geographical locations and diverse backgrounds.
To climb the 29,000 feet peak, the team is headed by a seasoned climber who has been there done that. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) has come all the way from New Zealand leaving a heavily pregnant wife (Kiera Knightley) behind. The ever reliable Emily Watson is a-coordinator at the base camp while Jake Gyllenhaal plays the leader of another group who are in the same business of helping amateurs achieve glory by climbing the mountain.
A rich guy (Josh Brolin) has come all the way from Texas while a postman (John Hawkes) realizing it is his last chance for glory joins the aspirants along with a Japanese lady who has achieved a lot but this is the last frontier.
We also get a brief insight on why, just why anyone would take such a risk to climb a mountain. In some cases, it is a point that they want to prove to themselves and for others they want to show to the world what they are made of.
The film doesn’t rush into the action straight away, which is what I liked. We are given a fair background of the characters and the trying conditions that await them. While there is enough drama on the way up, given the nature of the story, tragedy has to strike at some point.
There again, the director and the writers, William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy (Oscar winner for Slumdog Millionaire) have done a decent job, under the circumstances it would have been tempting to go with the histrionics but they have refrained. Hollywood anyway gives us an overdose of heroism from time to time so it is good to watch a film that takes a step back to see the drama unfold.
Backed by commendable performances, Everest is eminently worth a watch.