A scenic backdrop, a group of adventure enthusiasts, and a roller coaster of emotions is what I experienced throughout the duration of Everest, the movie based on the real life events of the Adventure Consults Climbers in their 1996 summit that resulted in the death of three climbers including their guide, Rob Hall. “Everest”, directed by Baltasar Kormakur who also directed other movies such as “2 Guns” and “Contraband", captures the commercialization of Everest that occurred during the 1990's as well as the individual stories of the inspiring climbers.
The first part of the movie dedicates itself to giving the background information of all the climbers, including their ambitions to why they want to climb the entire summit. Kormakur then tastefully places distinct moments of switching between the life the characters left behind between the situation they face at present. The audience is able to get a better sense of varying personalities of the characters coming together to complete a common goal. When the film nears its halfway point, the plot slows down significantly, becoming slightly repetitive in terms of both the actions and day to day progression of the climbers. The last quarter of the film focuses more on the hike from the south base to the top summit. “Everest” creates contrast by showing flashbacks of the past and the present through the character's’ perspective to show their feelings of separation. These moments were vital, especially for one of the characters Beck, who was played by Josh Brolin. Beck’s spontaneous decision to climb Everest met with much difficulty and dire consequences. However, the image of his family gives him the hope and strength to continue. The director presents themes relating to the mental strength of the climbers, the feeling of separation, the satisfaction of accomplishing an obstacle, and being liberated by the nature of human ambition.
Since the movie is based on a real life story, the director stays true to what actually happened. However, he still embellishes the settings and dramatizes the sequence of events, typical of most Hollywood directors. Despite this contrast, the movie captures the emotions of the climbers through their preparation to climb the summit.
Rob Hall, played by actor Jason Clarke, genuinely portrays the climber's desire to guide all his clients to the top of the summit. Clarke absorbs the calm nature of Hall and executes his role to perfection. The other cast members, including actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Keira Knightly who play the roles of guide Scott Fisher and Rob’s wife Jan Hall respectively, also have significant supporting roles that contribute to the main storyline.
The key focus during the last part is dedicated to the cinematography, which varies from close profiles of the climbers to distant scenes of the approaching storm during the climb. The lighting brings out the key expressions of the climbers as they struggle with the loss of their team members and the physical and mental exhaustion to complete their climb down the summit. The background score aids in developing the feeling of adrenaline as the climbers make their journey up the summit. Through this, the audience is able to develop a sense of anticipation and fear from the visuals of the climbers going up the summit, allowing for the movie experience to have a more human element and realistic style.
All in all, the film lives up to the great legacy of the climbers who reached the Everest summit in 1996. The film manages to include all the elements needed to tell an amazing story such as edge-of-your-seat thrills, adventure, family reunion, and a motivational lesson to tie it all together.
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