Menu

Cinema Review – Everest

There is no bigger subject than Mount Everest

There is no bigger subject than Mount Everest

Sometimes cinema is simply not big enough to fully embrace its subject – and there is no bigger subject than Mount Everest. It’s all well and good for the Marvel clowns to tool around the globe with their super powers, but when it comes to reality, even when enhanced by CGI, the camera can still struggle. In 1996 a New Zealand commercial climbing outfit embarked on an ascent of Everest with a handful of clients. Tragedy awaited. The summit was reached, but on the delayed return to base camp the group was overtaken by a violent blizzard. Icelandic director (how appropriate) Baltasar Kormákur spends a lot of time introducing us to those who will make that fateful climb. Led by Rob (Jason Clarke), they include a gung-ho Texan (Josh Brolin), a Japanese woman (Naoko Mori) who has conquered the highest peaks of the six other continents, and a fellow who attempted it last year (John Hawkes). Rob joins forces with another guide (Jake Gyllenhaal looking like Rasputin) and the significant ones left behind are Rob’s pregnant wife (Keira Knightley) and his business partner Helen (the always-clammy Emily Watson doing a parody of the Kiwi accent).

Kormákur is oddly at pains to show most of those assembled as party animals who spend the nights before the final push to the top getting hammered in their flapping tents – Gyllenhaal seems to be rarely off the turps. Shot largely on location in Nepal, the logistical challenges would have been enormous, but Kormákur and his cinematographer Salvatore Totino admirably capture the fierce inhospitality of the environment. At times, however, when the going gets tough, I was uncertain of who was who as the figures trudged their way through ice and snow that virtually obliterated their identity. It’s an exhausting movie that never quite attains the heights of its endeavour or comes to grips with the question of why people attempt these things in the first place. The team photo at the end, taken in 1996, if now de rigueur, is touching nonetheless.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Vast Ballina and Falls Festival