Film – Everest


Steve Taylor-Bryant takes on the mountainous task (I’m sorry) of reviewing Everest...

On the morning of May 10, 1996, climbers from two commercial expeditions start their final ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.

I never thought this would happen but I’ve finally found a Jake Gyllenhaal film I didn’t like. Well, "didn’t like" is probably the wrong term, let’s try "bored me." It’s strange, because it has all the ingredients to be enjoyable. I have liked previous films by director Baltasar Kormákur, 101 Reykjavik and 2 Guns were great movies. I also like the writing of Simon Beaufoy, especially 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire, and his co-writer William Nicholson is no slouch producing the screenplays for Gladiator and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. The cast includes such brilliance as the aforementioned Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke of Zero Dark Thirty fame, and there’s Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Washington and Josh Brolin, and yet here I am yawning. I like adventure stories, I like excitement, I absolutely love mountain related films, in fact The Eiger Sanction is in my top 20 films of all time, and I even enjoyed Stallone in Cliffhanger but Everest just didn’t seem to work.

It is an incredibly pretty film, the scenes on the mountain are wonderful to look at and the cinematography is great. However the soundtrack doesn’t work with what’s on screen, sometimes loud when it shouldn’t be there at all and sometimes not there at all when there should be at least something, and the cast just don’t seem to have bought into what has been asked of them. They are wooden, they are phoning it in, there is none of the emotions you would expect considering the brutality of what the story contains, and not one of them convinces me that they want to be on set. It’s like a lavishly expensive production for amateurs to prance about on.

It should have been as epic as the setting but rather than exciting and make me feel anything I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. In fact even with my fears of heights and dying I think I’d rather climb the bloody mountain myself than have to watch the film again.

Image - IMDb.

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