Shot from the film. Picture courtesy of screenfellows.com.
Give The Flak Rating: 7/10, Positive
The film stays strong throughout, but doesn’t go deep enough
We all know Mount Everest: it’s the highest mountain in the world. It’s 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) above sea level. Once you get above 8,000 meters, you get to the “death zone,” where the is too little oxygen to support human life. Many daring climbers have made attempts to get up to the peak. Some of these climbers have successfully made the trip without death; others haven’t.
This film is a story about a group of people who didn’t. It’s about the true story of the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest, which claimed the lives of eight people from different groups attempting to get to the peak, mainly focusing on the groups of Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal). The film is directed by Baltasar Kormákur.
The film opens up with the commercial expedition group, Adventure Consultants, who are attempting to get to the mountain’s peak, preparing to climb to the peak. The group was leaded by Rob Hall, and his clients included Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), an experienced climber, Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), who is pursuing his dream after being a mailman, and Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), who was hoping to get to the peak to complete her goal of reaching the worlds seven peaks.
They character build well. Everyone has different reasons to try to make it to the peak, and not to die, which we hear and see in scenes throughout the film. For example, Rob Hall has a pregnant wife, Jan (Keira Knightley), and John Hawkes has failed once before and doesn’t want to again.
They set things up well, too. For example, when the members of the group are in a conference about the dangers they face medically when they are on the mountain, the doctor tells them they can suffer from cerebral hypoxia, and they can begin to feel hot and causes them to take their clothes of in dangerously low temperatures. Later in the film, they use that explain Doug Hansen’s death (whose body has not been found, and cause of death is unknown).
The accents are pretty on point. Since a majority of the characters are from New Zealand, and a majority of the actors and actresses aren’t from New Zealand, a lot of the accents aren’t natural to the actors and actresses. However, they do a good job staying with their accents, and doesn’t break the immersion. The acting is good as well, which doesn’t break the immersion either. The crying is very believable, too (which it should be, as the ending is almost entirely people crying).
It’s written well, with a neat mix of bubbly banter at the start of the film, and gets serious and dramatic when it needs to. They stick the facts well, which is important for a film like this.
The visuals, when it comes to the storms and snowy scenes, are great. They filmed a lot of it in actual snowy areas, which makes it look real, and I like that in a film. The CGI is great, too, with none of it extremely noticeable.
However, the film lacks big landscape shots. In certain parts of the film, I would of loved a big wide shot, showing you how little they are in comparison to the mountains, and to give a sense of beauty to the mountain. And that beauty would be an great inclusion. The mountain seems so evil, a big ominous spectacle, especially towards the end of the film. Giving that beauty would add a two-faced element to the mountain, and I’d like that.
The film lacks depth. You feel sad when certain characters die, but not to the level of heart-wreching. I want the same level as the ending Toy Story 3, (which I know had three films to give depth to the characters, but be quiet) where I was literally sobbing. I would have been fine with a longer film that develops character, which would make it absolutely devastating when the deaths happen.
The film stays strong throughout, with most of the important elements done well. However, it doesn’t go deep enough for you to care that much about the characters, and lacks landscape shots. Still, I enjoyed my time, and I would recommend you see it.