Monday, September 21, 2015

Everest - Movie Review

Everett is a movie based on real life events and was directed by Baltasar Kormákur who's previous work includes the films 2 Guns and Contraband. The film stars Jason Clark, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The Story:
As expedition groups prepare to scale the world's highest peak, the mountain looms with countless dangers that must be accounted for. In a year where more groups than usual are planning on making the trek at the same time, extra precautions must be accounted for. Rival expedition owners Rob Hall (Clarke) of Adventure Consultants and Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal) of Mountain Madness decide to team up in an effort to secure a safer journey for their clients. A few of the people who set off on the journey included Texas family man Beck Weathers (Brolin), writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), Japanese businesswoman and experienced climber Yasuko Namba (Naoki Mori), and Doug Hansen (Hawkes), a mailman chasing his dream of doing something incredible.

The Review:
This is one of those films that needs to be seen on the largest screen you can possibly find as it is jam packed with so many stunning shots of both the mountain and the surrounding area. Visually, this movie is just amazing and director Baltasar Kormákur does a wonderful job in capturing the double edged sword of beauty and danger that is Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak. Don't get me wrong, Everest isn't just a bunch of panoramic shots thrown together just because they look cool, Kormákur does a great job of portraying the mountain as a primary character in the movie and fills a lot of the scenes with an underlying sense of tension and danger which really helps to give a proper gravity to a story that deserves the utmost respect.

Make sure you see this movie on a screen worthy of it's size and scale and I would recommend seeing it in 3D as well for maximum effect. The 3D element was added in as a post conversion rather than filming with 3D cameras although it's a really clean transfer and does add a lot to the viewing experience. From what I understand, IMAX cameras were used for some scenes but the film makers were also limited as to what they were able to do on the mountain just as the climbers themselves had to follow a very strict set of rules meant to keep them safe and alive. Shooting on the mountain itself helped to add a sense of reality and scale that wouldn't have been achieved otherwise and producer, film maker, and mountaineer David Breashears was key to helping with the location shooting as he himself has scaled the mountain twice and filmed multiple documentaries about his experiences.

One of the things that impressed me the most about this project was the sheer volume of talent up and down the cast and it was great to see this ensemble working together on a truly worthwhile and important story. Kormákur does a decent enough job of fitting so many people into the story although I felt like more time could have been spent on getting to know them even more which would have made for an even stronger emotional impact. This would have necessitated stretching out the two hour run time although I feel like this wouldn't have been a problem and ultimately would have turned a really good film into a great one. As it is, we still get really good performances across the board and especially from Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, and Josh Brolin along with Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, and Emily Watson who each take full advantage of their limited time on screen.

The Verdict:
I liked this movie a lot. It is a very moving portrayal of the men and women who literally risked their lives to achieve greatness and paid dearly when things took a turn for the worse. Mount Everest is called the most dangerous place on earth and Everest the movie does an excellent job of showing us why. Please don't wait for this movie to come out on home video, it is absolutely worthy of the theater experience. There are scenes shot with IMAX cameras so, if you are near a true IMAX theater, definitely check this out and, as I mentioned earlier, seeing it in 3D is also a worthwhile upgrade.


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