Takes far too long to find a pulse.
In the year of 1996, a group of individuals, guided by their leader, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) have come to push themselves to their limits as they work as a team in attempt to climb the summit of Mount Everest. Though, not everybody will be physically and emotionally up for the challenge. Especially with the unpredictable weather, disaster is threatened at every turn.
This is neither a documentary nor an action adventure. Stunning cinematography along with fine performances from a top-notch cast make it a riveting, and at times, heartbreaking journey. If you want the full experience, see it in IMAX, 3D. (I wouldn’t usually recommend watching a film in 3D, but Everest was very well constructed for the format.) Some characters stories end in tragedy opposed to triumph, but this realism makes for a fascinating story within the human experience. The screenplay however, doesn’t fall beyond mediocre, therefore fails to blow your mind.
Jason Clarke is the true star here, proving he is more than capable of taking on the lead role. His character’s passion makes him a very likeable figure and when things take a turn for the worst, Clarke really sells the desperation of the situation. John Brolin is also brilliant in his role as the stubborn Beck. Keira Knightley sits out on the action this time around as Rob’s wife, but still manages to hold the event’s drama single-handedly over the phone. There are however, too many characters with very little time.
The ensemble cast is packed with well-known faces, such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright and Michael Kelly (A House of Cards intervention) Emily Watson, John Hawkes and others. The star factor can certainly be distracting, but it is the only way to truly tell an audience who’s who. This brings me on to the bone I have to pick with costume design. Something really should have been done with the outfits, such as setting each character a distinct colour to recognise them by…instead of an outfit change more or less in each scene. And as a result, this lack of differentiation of the characters only ends up detaching us emotionally with them.
Technically impressive, Everest is a visual treat for fans of the adventure genre, filled with heart, however it also feels like a film of this scale should be trying harder, and climbing much higher. Begins with high expectations and possibility; only to plummet away into lifelessness. A film still worth a watch in the cinema, though best to keep expectations quite low. Does it make me want to climb Everest? God no, quite the opposite.