it could easily be just another movie about disaster, packed with overly staged special effects and excessive action scenes. after all, it was about a disastrous 1996 mt. everest climbing season. but to my pleasant surprise, everest was far from this.
i was actually expecting sudden large amount of avalanche and dizzying scenes to illustrate blizzard. but no, there was absolutely none of it and it made watching this movie a really nice one. climbing everest of course, need not have any exaggeration and this was deftly put together by the filmmakers. instead of wowing us with action scenes, the movie centered on humanity and how individuals would put everything on the line to reach the roof of the world. it started with the sendoff for the expedition team, led by rob hall (jason clarke), and meeting the rest of the climbers in kathmandu airport. scenes of acclimatization and test hikes followed, peaking toward the day of the intended summiting for the team. this is when we saw the start of the challenges that plagued this climbing season and resulted to death of several individuals, including expedition leader rob hall. it was the worst climbing season ever in the history of mt. everest.
there were no bad guys, no villains, there was only everest and the climbers. it was a character-driven film, some were more drawn out such as clarke's and brolin's, but all the others were given highlights and their scenes were all tied together. i watched in amazement how one is willing to sacrifice their lives to achieve this one single goal. the movie gave me a whole spectrum of emotions, from being optimistic, ambitious and brave, to being hopeless and browbeaten and finally acceptance that going up there was not really about adventure but of serious questions between life and death. as the climbers said, only the mountain decides who lives and who dies.
the cinematography was amazing. viewers can really sense the danger and feel the suffering of the climbers. while climbing it would most probably be impossible for me, this film made me want to see mt. everest as close as i can get. that means putting a trip to nepal high in my bucketlist. i'm writing this while being subjected to the heat of el nino summer but i greatly appreciate this rather than suffer everest's killer freeze zone. the movie also had the right amount of light-hearted moments. it is emotionally powerful and brings the question on why people actually try to summit when they know that they are already dying doing it.