by Sandra Kraisirideja
“Everest” is thin on character development and story but still delivers an intense, immersive film experience, especially when viewed in IMAX 3D.
Directed by Baltasur Kormakur from a screenplay by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, “Everest” boasts an impressive roster of acting talent including Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Emily Watson, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley, Michael Kelly, and Sam Worthington.
Yet for all of the talent contained by these actors they aren’t given much work with in terms of character or story development. Everyone does the best with what they have but I couldn’t help but feel many of them were attracted to the project for the chance to film on location in Nepal.
The true star of the movie is Mount Everest itself and Kormakur, who previously directed “2 Guns,” does a solid job putting the audience in the center of the action. It’s a terrifying place and its fierceness comes across in the movie.
Mount Everest is located in Nepal and is the Earth’s highest mountain. It rises over 29,029 feet above sea level, which Jason Clarke’s character makes an offhand remark is about the “cruising altitude of a 747.”
Cinematographer Salvatore Totino, who worked with Ron Howard on “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons,” captures the unforgiving terrain and the alien-like surroundings of Everest with unflinching realism. So much of the area looks like another planet; a planet that is definitely inhospitable for humans.
I knew little of the events the movie is based and recommend the less you know about the story the better your experience be during the movie. “Everest” sparked my curiosity about the events depicted in the film, which were written about in great detail in the books “Into Thin Air” by John Krakauer; “The Climb” by Anatoli Boukreev; and “Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest” by Beck Weathers.
“Everest” is not the first time the events of May 10-11, 1996 have been made into a movie. Krakauer’s book was made into a made-for-television movie in 1997. “Into Thin Air: Death on Everest” starred Peter Horton, Nathaniel Parker, Richard Jenkins and Christopher McDonald.
Kormakur gives the story the breadth and realism it deserves. Mount Everest is formidable and those who climb it can truly feel they have achieved the impossible.