Friday, September 18, 2015
Movie Review: Everest
Everest is based on the true events of May 1996, in which multiple blizzards hit the famous mountain on the same day. There have been many books and TV movies created about the events that happened that day, but Everest is the first feature film about it.
Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) is an Everest expedition guide, and he guides both experienced climbers and amateurs. He leaves his pregnant wife (Keira Knightley) and flies to Nepal, where he meets up with some old friends - Doug (John Hawkes), who has tried (and failed) to climb Everest before; Beck (Josh Brolin), an older man who is attempting it; and his camp doctor and organizer (Elizabeth Debicki and Emily Watson, respectively). More and more guides are trying for a piece of the Everest pie this year, including Scott (Jake Gyllenhaal), who runs a similar guiding business, and they all want to make the climb on the same day: May 10th. On their way down after reaching the top of Everest, however, Hall and his clients run into a major blizzard, and this causes complications.
This movie was all over the place; I feel like they were trying to make it this year's Titanic, but unfortunately, there were too many characters to keep track of, and the plot is a bit of a zigzag mess. First, if there's such a thing as an "A-list cast," this would be an "A+ list cast" - you've got Clarke, Knightley, Hawkes, Brolin, Debicki, Watson, and Gyllenhaal, as well as Robin Wright (as Brolin's wife) and Sam Worthington (as another guide). Clarke is established early on as the main guide and star of the story, but the rest of the side characters were often confusing; there are more supporting characters, too, that I didn't even mention here, such as Clarke's other clients, and the clients of Gyllenhaal's team.
Because there are so many characters, too, most of them don't get much screen time, other than Clarke. Keira Knightley was great as Clarke's pregnant wife, who has just found out their child's gender (a girl); however, you only see her in snippets. I wanted to learn more of Gyllenhaal's character's story, too, but again, because so many characters are jockeying for screen time here, we only learn about him in bits and pieces.
Despite all these flaws, yes, go see this movie. I saw it in IMAX 3D which is the way to go, if you can, as the cinematography and effects were fantastic. I will say that the film actually seemed very slow throughout, especially for a movie that Wikipedia classifies as a "British 3D biographical disaster thriller-adventure drama film" (a mouthful, to say the least!); it was also a little hard to understand the British and Australian accents that permeate the film. The last 1/4 or so of the movie was the best, when things start to go wrong fast, and a lot of emotion was involved. Don't forget to stay for the end of the film, where we get an update on the real-life people that these characters played, and what happened to them; the events of May 10th and 11th, 1996, played a major part in all of their lives.
Everest is in theaters today, September 25th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 121 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.