Starring: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Running Time: 121 mins
Everest is an American film about the true story of a commercial climbing expedition up the world’s tallest mountain that is devastated by an unexpected snowstorm.
This isn’t a perfect film. There are some major flaws with the story and the pacing, given that it takes over forty minutes to really get going at all. However, there are periods of this movie which are absolutely astonishing. It’s directed pristinely by Baltasar Kormákur, it has some incredible action, some of the performances are brilliant, and it has a hugely emotional climax that pretty much had me in tears.
But before we get into why this is such an exciting film, let’s talk about the first act, lasting around 45 minutes. It’s simply extremely poor. In reality, the characters only take a couple of minutes for you to get accustomed to, however this film continues to establish everyone and their emotional connections back home to pretty much no effect.
As a result, it’s not an interesting watch at all for that long, with next to no mountain action, relatively dull dialogue, and no sense of peril or tension whatsoever, begging the question why it was left in this film for so long…
Anyway, once the actual climb gets underway, things start to get a bit better. The story centres mainly around Jason Clarke (who is brilliant) and Josh Brolin’s characters, and although you have some sort of interest in the supporting players, there’s not really much to see about them.
That said, Clarke and Brolin’s characters still take a bit of a while to get more engrossing. There is a greater sense of danger at this part of the movie at least, but there’s still nothing there to really thrill you, but it’s still moderately entertaining.
It’s the final hour of this story which is absolutely incredible. Helped hugely by the intense directing and astonishing CGI, the climax here is consistently engrossing and nail-biting to watch. The visuals are unbelievable, and if you get the chance to see this in IMAX, please take it, because it’s an immersive experience like few others.
The finale isn’t just a big-budget action thriller, though. Yes, there are some hugely intense and almost frightening sequences that turn this into quite a ruthless and pounding ride, but the most impressive thing about it is that it’s so emotionally powerful.
Once the danger really sets in, and all hope seems to be lost, you really start caring about the characters in their various situations, and amongst the lonely backdrop of the highest mountain in the world, it becomes pretty emotional, at times having me in tears, something that I really did not expect to see going into this film.
Overall, this gets a 7.8, because it is an astonishingly exciting and brilliantly emotional thriller in the end, it’s just the disappointingly dull first act that really brings it down.