The film Everest is a cliff-hanger. If you haven't hugged your kids/spouse or other special people in your life before seeing this film you will be afterwards. Nor will you ever look at your cosy warm bed in the same way again.
This 3D biographical drama and adventure thriller film is directed by Baltasar Kormákur and written by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy. The film stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is based on the 1996 Adventure Consultants summit attempt.
Mt Everest is all about challenge and contemporaneously the film "Everest" is a challenging film. The mood is set by the introduction of climbers in a state of excited anticipation together with their families. In particular, Rob, the expedition leader and his pregnant wife bid a cheerful farewell. The camaraderie of base camp is also depicted with a similarly buoyant mood. Only the slightest filmic hints are provided for what is yet to come; certain safety and weather issues are mentioned yet not enough to dampen the climbers' (and in parallel the film-goers') anticipation of reaching the summit. The director stays true to the human pioneering spirit in general and that of mountaineering in particular. They even make a jovial reference to Hilary's comment as to why climb Mt Everest (because it was there). At base camp we get to know the personalities and motivations of the climbers, some of which are poignant and touching, others perhaps less penetrable like the mountain itself.
Do not go to this film if you suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights). The 3D effects deepen the chasms and sharpen the lofty heights; and climbers are often filmed from a distance which make them appear like a line of ants on a vast white mountain-scape. Also expect some cliffhangers in both the landscape and the plot. The build up of tension becomes explosive. Some viewers were literally sitting on the edge of their seat.
Towards the end of the film the audience gets a glimpse of how human motivation and error can have a major impact on how high risk endeavours get played out. The story also shows how valour, teamwork and family ties can counteract these fatal human flaws. To what extent which of these opposing forces triumphs is something you will have to find out by going to see the film (no spoilers here).
A stellar cast provides a high level acting from everyone. Even New Zealand accents are well captured by the likes of Kiera Knightley who plays Jan Arnold, the pregnant wife of expedition leader Rob Hall, who conveys the build up of emotion convincingly as she waits on the end of the phone for news of the expedition.
This film oozes adrenalin-building tension and powerful images. And at the end of it I can promise you that your doona and pillows will feel extra softer and cosier when you retire to your warm and safe bedroom tonight.