Movie Review: Everest

Everest PosterReel Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense peril and disturbing images
Released in Theaters: Sept. 18, 2015
Best for Ages: 13+
Genre: Action, Adventure
Runtime: 121 minutes
Directed by: Baltasar Kormakur
Studio: Universal Pictures
Cast: Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Hawkes
Official Site: Everest

SYNOPSIS: Based on a true story, this action thriller chronicles a 1996 climbing expedition on Mt. Everest that’s devastated by a severe snow storm.

REVIEW: I’ve never been one of those adventurous risk-takers. Like, for instance, you would never in a million years find me braving brutal winds, frigid temps and scary avalanches to get to the top of Mt. Everest. Just getting from one day to the next is enough of a challenge to me, so risking brain edema, dwindling eyesight and frostbite like the people in “Everest”? So not for me.

But I love watching other people achieve these impossible dreams in the movies, despite the fact that this one is based on a true story and resulted in eight deaths one fateful day in 1996.

“Everest” recounts the tragic events surrounding the May 10, 1996 disaster on Earth’s highest peak. The film centers on two climbing teams, one helmed by New Zealand guide Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), whose company, Adventure Consultants, hoped to get several people to the summit that day, including Outside magazine journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), mail carrier Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), and Texas doctor Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin).

The other team, led by American guide Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), included socialite Sandy Pittman (Vanessa Kirby), another high-profile reporter and other clients.

But as both teams started up the mountain, a series of setbacks and one cataclysmic blizzard resulted in people losing their lives on the deadliest day in Everest history.

As mentioned, I love these adventure movies. They show the mighty power of Mother Nature, including the fact that she has little regard for human lives (and people should understand that when they embark on a risky journey). This movie is nail-bitingly thrilling, with a snowy landscape that’s brutal and stark. In short, every step could kill you.

Director Baltasar Kormákur makes good use of special effects (this is one movie worth seeing in 3D), and although there’s not a lot of backstory with the characters, the cast is terrific. It doesn’t get much better than Brolin, Gyllenhaal, Clarke and the rest of the cast.

“Everest” delivers on all fronts, and makes me want to check out all the memoirs from this trek, including Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” and David Breashears’ IMAX documentary.

Be sure to stay through the end credits for photos of the real-life people portrayed in the movie. Love that.

THE DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):

Sex/Nudity: None.

Violence/Gore: Climbers face peril throughout the film, including hallucinations, oxygen deprivation, and falls, sometimes tragic. A few scenes include characters covered in snow and have blackened skin due to frostbite. Some dead bodies are seen on the mountain.

Profanity: “Hell,” “damn,” “stupid,” and exclamations of “Jesus” and “God.”

Drugs/Alcohol: Adults drink alcoholic beverages at dinner and base camp.

Which Kids Will Like It? Kids aged 13 and older who like action adventure movies based on true stories.

Will Grownups Like It? “Everest” is thrilling and sometimes heartbreaking from start to finish. Go see it.

One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.


3 responses to “Movie Review: Everest”

  1. Jean Avatar

    Check out Lou Kasischke’s book, After the Wind, published in 2014. Lou was one of the 1996 survivors and a consultant on the film. It’s both a mountaineering story and a tribute to his close relationship with his wife, Sandy. He analyzes what went wrong and the decision making process on Everest that day.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Thanks so much – I’ll check it out for sure.

  2. R.C. Allen Avatar

    Hmmm, may have to check this out. It’s always interesting to hear about what the real story was behind events like those. You always end up finding out something that was either never released to the media during the breaking news, or there was more to the story. I enjoyed The Perfect Storm as well so this is one to add to the list of movies to watch for me. Good write up!

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