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REVIEW: Everest

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Review by Dustin Heller

Everest is the new biographical action thriller portraying the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.  The film is directed by Baltasar Kormákur who is probably best known for his action films Contraband and 2 Guns.  The amazing cast consists of Jason ClarkeJake Gyllenhaal, Josh BrolinJohn HawkesRobin WrightMichael KellySam WorthingtonKeira Knightley and Emily Watson.  The film recently had its world premiere at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.

Two teams, one led by Rob Hall (Clarke) and one by Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal), attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 10, 1996.  The teams consisted of climbers from all over the world including a journalist for Outdoor magazine and a Japanese woman who had been to six of the seven summits, needing only Everest to complete them all.  The film begins as we meet the guides and team members and learn of the training and requirements necessary to accomplish this magnificent feat.

After forty days of intense training and preparation, the teams begin their trip to the summit on May 10.  There are a few missteps and complications along the way, but each person is fighting for their life to reach the summit and then make it back down safely.  A major storm hits, which changes the game for everyone involved.  The climbers must work together and do everything they can to try to stay alive.

Everest is one of the most thrilling movies to come out in quite some time.  With help from the fantastic score and mesmerizing cinematography, the adrenaline rush from the movie will get your heart pounding and keep you on the edge of your seat.  As exciting as it is, the movie doesn’t have much of a story or character development outside of this amazing trek to the summit of Mount Everest.  Even without those things, this is a master class in movie making.  Everest takes you on a journey that is so lifelike and realistic that you feel like you’re climbing the mountain right along with the team.

With such a large cast and not a true star of the film, the acting is superb from top to bottom.  I can’t imagine the physical stress a role like this would take on an actor.  Not that I would have wanted to in the first place, but after seeing this movie, the last thing I’d ever want to do would be to scale Mount Everest and a close second would be act in a movie about scaling Mount Everest.

A question is posed by the Outdoor magazine journalist to the other climbers simply asking “Why?”  I couldn’t get this out of my mind throughout the entire film.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around why anyone would want to risk their life just to make it to the top of a mountain.  I get it that there are many people out there like that, but I just don’t understand it and that somewhat took away from the enjoyment of the movie for me.  I was literally shaking my head in disbelief from one scene to the next.  All that said, if there was ever a movie to see in IMAX 3D, I think Everest just might be that movie.

Grade:  B+

Everest will be first released in IMAX and premium large-format theaters on September 18, 2015, followed by a wide theatrical release on September 25, 2015