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article imageReview: ‘Everest’ is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that’s true to life Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Sep 18, 2015 in Entertainment
‘Everest’ is an exceptionally accurate and intense portrayal of one of the worst disasters to ever take place on the mountain.
The prestige that comes with reaching the top of Mt. Everest makes it one of the most coveted accomplishments amongst adventurers — though not necessarily skilled climbers, who set their sights on less commercialized summits. Consequently, Everest is also one of the most expensive treks someone can aspire to complete, so not making it to the top is more than just a disappointment. The ascent is treacherous due to weather, thin air and unstable ground, and there are substantial costs associated with the equipment and manpower required to complete the journey. Yet every year hundreds of people arrive at base camp to give it a try. Everest chronicles one of the worst disasters to occur on the mountain almost 20 years ago.
Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), an avid mountaineer, founded Adventure Consultants, which offered guide services to people wanting to climb Mt. Everest. In 1996, their group’s expedition consisted of eight clients and three guides, including Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), a journalist from Outside magazine. The company attempted its summit on May 10 as scheduled and though many made it, a series of delays spelled trouble early on in the ascent. By that evening a severe storm rolled into the area, trapping the trailing climbers beyond the safety of the highest altitude’s camp. As a result, a number of people lost their lives or suffered serious injuries.
The viewers’ knowledge about climbing is irrelevant to the power of the narrative that unfolds before them. Director Baltasar Kormákur and writer Simon Beaufoy bring their flair for action and drama to stunning effect. This film accurately and realistically recreates the experience and conditions of being on Mt. Everest at that time. The emotions depicted and induced are raw, causing the movie-going experience to be somewhat exhausting. Audiences are kept on the edge of their seats throughout the entire picture, either by the anticipation of the characters reaching a target or by the dread of looming catastrophe. Without being able to identify with their reasons for embarking on such a gruelling excursion, it’s easy to understand and empathize with the emotions they experience at various points in the narrative.
The cast consists of a number of well-known actors willing to brave the elements to make an authentic film. Clarke also featured in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, in which he demonstrated a talent for the dramatic in the face of special effects horror. Rob is at the centre of the narrative and often on screen, but Clarke notably meets the physical and emotional demands of his character. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays another guide with whom Rob has a friendly rivalry, exhibiting a more carefree and somewhat hazardous attitude. Emily Watson plays the passionate role of the group’s “house mother” and Rob’s main connection at base camp. Sam Worthington and Keira Knightley also appear as another guide and Rob’s wife, respectively, while Josh Brolin is wealthy hiker from Texas.
The mountain is another character in the story, so its depiction is key to the film’s effectiveness. Accordingly, the aesthetics are spectacular. Screened in IMAX 3D, the vastness of the landscape is awe-inspiring and engulfing. In fact, the representation is so genuine, viewers’ hearts will jump into their throats when an avalanche occurs or climbers lose their footing. This movie is an intense thriller and is mostly true to the real-life events that inspired it.
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal and Emily Watson
More about Everest, Jason Clarke, jake gyllenhaal, emily watson, Josh brolin
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