It would be easier for me to tell you who lived at the end of this movie rather than who died.
This is my review of Everest!
It is the morning of May 10th, 1996. Two expedition groups, one led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and the other by Scott Fisher (Jake Gyllenhaal) embark on their final ascent on Mount Everest. The best laid plans go horribly awry when a violent snowstorm strands them on the mountain, forcing them to endure the freezing winds and unforgiving temperatures.
A young man at my LifeTeen youth group has been begging me to review this movie. He says that the story and the performances moved him. After watching the movie, I can see why it gave him an emotional experience.
The sense of family between the climbers is made evident by the committed performances. Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast sell the idea that these people are bonded by a shared lifelong goal that borders on obsession: To do the impossible. I love how the characters come from different parts of the world and are from all walks of life. This strengthens the impact of the one commonality that brings them together.
The young man who asked me to review this told me that one of the things he liked was how the movie made him care for all the characters, even the supporting players. I absolutely agree with him on that. I could feel the desperation of the people below, who understood the horror that was unfolding above. I could feel their terror coming through the screen.
I cried during the scene where [SPOILER] Rob Hall calls his wife Jan (Keira Knightly) for the last time. The delivery of the dialogue between them is heartbreaking. I like the finality of hearing the voice of a dying loved one with no way to see their face before they pass.
Any time the wind picks up or the actors turn their head away from the camera, the dialogue becomes inaudible. It’s not as bad as Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderful where actors were either whispering their lines or screeching at the audience for two hours, but it did get frustrating.
It is unclear why Jake Gyllenhaal’s character injects himself from time to time. All we needed was one scene where he says, “I’m diabetic” or whatever medical condition his character was supposed to have, but an answer is never given. Also, when the wife of Josh Brolin’s character learns that her husband is trapped on Everest, she and her friends begin calling embassies and demanding that they work to rescue her husband. What exactly was the status of their family? Is the wife a high-ranking official or related to one? While Rob Hall, Scott Fisher and most of the main players are well established, the actions or backstories of smaller characters are left on the sidelines.
Everest is a riveting account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, carried by strong performances and solid writing. This story of brave Everest enthusiasts being humbled by the unpredictability of Mother Nature is well worth watching by climbers and non-climbers alike.
Saint Benedict of Nursia, pray for us.