Movie Review: Unlike the Actual Mountain, ‘Everest’ Never Peaks
What is the film is trying to tell us? Should we or should we not climb a mountain?
I dutifully chewed on popcorn for the 121-minute-long Everest. Post that I have been bogged down with a problem I can’t quite eschew. What is it that the film is trying to tell us? Should we or should we not climb a mountain? Considering the way things stand in the movie I have made my decision. It’s an emphatic NO. Never! Even if someone tells me there is a clean-shaven Jake Gyllenhaal waiting atop one, I shall refuse to budge.
So what is it then that director Baltasar Kormakur is trying to convey? Since it revolves around the 1996 Mt Everest tragedy, we could assume he wants to tell us why so many climbers died on that fateful day? If so, it throws up no interesting answers. Instead of giving us specific reasons, it just blames the weather and some unintentional glitches for the mountain tragedy.
“Everest is another beast,” we are told by one of the characters. So obviously reining in this monster isn’t going to be easy. There is a sense of foreboding as we are constantly reminded of the hostility of nature, the thin oxygen layer atop Everest, that makes scaling it all the more challenging.
While the base camp is shown teeming with mountaineers, we focus on a select few. Jason Clarke plays the affable Rob Hall, the expedition organiser. Rob along with Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) are the only two characters that we are allowed to meet with some indulgence, thanks to their respective on-screen wives (Keira Knightley and Robin Wright).
Emily Watson as the base camp coordinator manages to hold her own. But the tragedy is Jake Gyllenhaal as Scott Fischer, who has been totally wasted. While thanks to the vicious blizzards and oxygen masks, the rest of the cast are mostly rendered indistinguishable, it’s a pity that Gyllenhaal hasn’t been put to better use.
Although neatly executed, the biggest problem with Everest is that unlike the mountain itself, the film never peaks. The 3D, Dolby sound and CGI effectively display the majesty of Everest and the enormity of the situation faced by the climbers. But the impact is insipid and uninspiring. It fails to answer satisfactorily the most basic question that one of the characters in the film asks – Why is it so important to scale the Everest?
Now before you ask me if watching the movie is important, let me tell you it isn’t. An average watch at best, I’ll give it a generous 2.5 out of 5 QUINTS.
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