Movie Review – ‘Everest’

“We see the competition and mindset of those dedicated enough to attempt to scale Mount Everest in order to join the 3,100+ people ever to reach the top.” – REEL


Based upon the deadly 1996 true story, “Everest” immediately places the world’s tallest mountain–and all its harshness–in the direct path of viewers.  Within only a handful of minutes following the film’s start, moviegoers subconsciously decide whether mountaineering is—or is not–in their DNA makeup.

While “Everest” boasts an ensemble cast of highly acclaimed A-listers, such as Josh Brolin (“Milk”), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Southpaw”), Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”) and Jason Clarke (“Terminator Genisys”), the true stars of this movie is the 29,028-feet mountain and the untimely blizzard, in which both combined to wreak havoc on summit plans and cost people their lives nearly 20 years ago.

A bland, mostly underutilized cast of characters act as mere pawns in this wondrous cinematography victory on IMAX 3D film-making.  Academy Award nominated director Baltasar Kormakur (for 2012’s The Deep in the Best Foreign Language Film category) returned to his native Iceland to film most of the movie, believing that a truly cold environment was paramount in order to capture the realism necessary to tell this unfortunate saga.  Other locales used in the film included Italy, as well as the actual Everest Base Camp in Nepal.


Kormakur’s attention to detail is impossible to ignore on the big-screen.  The audience can feel the 40-day acclimation period used to train the climbers ahead of their quest for the summit.  We see the competition and mindset of those dedicated enough to attempt to scale Mount Everest in order to join the 3,100+ people ever to reach the top.

As the treacherous and fateful days approach, the seriousness is all too apparent for all involved (including us).  Rich traditions, such as a blessing for the climbers by locals, contrasts with the testosterone and competitiveness exhibited by expedition groups all fighting and struggling for a common goal.

Everest” provided me with the most uncomfortable true mountain story since watching U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his team fight for their lives in 2013’s “Lone Survivor”.  But one significant difference separates these two films…character development.  In “Everest”, very little background or investment is made in any cast member to the detriment of the overall movie.

Without the required character development, viewers are caught watching a battle of unknowns take on the world’s tallest foe.  And, with those cinematic odds, I know which side I’m placing my money on to win.

Grade: B-

“Everest” is rated PG-13 for intense peril and disturbing images.  Running time is 2 hours and 1 minute.

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