Since, well.. the fall of man I suppose, man has railed against nature. We are one of the most adaptable species on the planet, living in such a wide array of climates and altitudes. Mankind is truly remarkable. Sometimes, however, nature hits back and mankind remembers how truly helpless we are. To say Everest is a great movie is somehow lacking. It is one of the most intensely emotional, harrowing and beautiful movies I’ve seen in quite some time.
From the moment this film began, I knew I was in for something special. Everest, which is partly IMAX promo film and partly true story, is one of the most engaging films of 2015. This Adaption of Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air at time caused me to forget that, unlike the people on the screen, I was not running low oxygen. It is not often that I get so wrapped up in the moment that I have to consciously remember to breath. My dad often quotes Sam Walter Foss, who says “Bring me men to match my mountains.” Very few men or women can match the awe-inspiring peaks of Mount Everest in Nepal. Reaching an altitude normally only reached by 747s in flight, Everest earns it’s “highest mountain in the world” title by reaching up 29,029 feet. As adaptable as we are, mankind has still mostly found its match in Mount Everest.
Expedition leader Rob Hall says that a certain altitude as you climb “your body begins to die, my job is to get you down before it does.”
Everest is not new to the killing business. It has been doing it for years. Many of its victims still scatter the trail on the way to the summit shouting “turn back” to some, but challenging many thrill seekers to press on. Which begs the question, why? Why put yourself through this incredibly dangerous adventure? Is it bragging rights? Is it to inspire? Is it to escape? The movie deals with these questions to wonderful and heartbreaking effect.
The ensemble cast, including Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal and Robin Wright, to name a few, were excellent. The two hour runtime allows us a good deal of time to meet and connect with each character. This means the victories will be that much greater, but so will the losses and celebrity, or lack thereof, is in no way indicative of survival in this story of 1996’s Adventure Consulting trek.
One of the most beautiful and tragic elements of Everest were the deaths. Sometimes people just die. It’s terrible and sad, but there isn’t always a last word, no meaningful soliloquy, sometimes they’re just gone and all we’re left with is our memories. Director Baltasar Kormákur depicts this with a confident certainty that was equal parts refreshing and terrifying.
“You go… I’m going to die.”
I left Everest in a haze. It was more of an experience than a movie and it took a while to digest. In fact, I’m still digesting it now. What I can say for sure is this is a must-see. Not just for the awe-inspiring beauty of the cinematography, but the reminder that there is life outside the four walls and a roof we find ourselves in so much. Granted, I’m not going to climb Everest, but this film reminded me why I love going on hikes. It sparked something in my soul, that God-given naturalist in myself that comes alive when I see His creation. Yes, it can be a harsh and unrelenting creation, but it’s one that I want to explore and one I want to share with my daughter one day.
If you can find Everest near you, do yourself a favor: watch it. Yes, it will be stressful, you’ll probably cry, but no other film this weekend will cause you to feel like this movie will. That’s a good thing.
What did you think about Everest? Is it playing near you? Let us know in the comments below.