Director Baltasar Kormakur, known for his film 2 Guns starring both Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington has taken on the challenge of making a white-knuckle disaster drama based on the true events of those who dared to trek the Summit of Mount Everest. The films boasts a cast of Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, and Keira Knightly. I know films are not supposed to be documentaries, but let me tell you, I learned countless tidbits of knowledge I would have never known on my own and that’s pretty cool, but back to the review.
The idea of heights and mountains terrifies a person like myself just thinking about it, but it’s a whole different monster when you are sitting in front a ginormous theater screen with surround sound and cinematography that gives you heart palpitations. You get into the heads of these thrill seeking men and women as they face the highest peak on earth. On that mountain, you learn they are based there over a month at a time as they do their best to help adapt their bodies for the freezing weather they will face the higher they go. After this film, there will be an equally troubling feeling in your chest as the climbers themselves while ascending as the positive energy descends.
The cast does as you expect with their resumes doing all the boasting, but it’s the tension through the setting being atop a mountain while everyone coughs blood and losing digits blacker than Akon. As the mountain blizzard blows in on all the climbers, a frozen sensation hits your nerves like you were just going numb. With that being said, you warm up quickly enough due to some off pacing during scenes that you want to be emotional about and when you don’t want to feel all that emotion. As the climbers reach certain levels of the mountain you almost don’t realize it if you were to have blinked. Abrupt moments of realization that there has been an increase of height on the mountain gets thrown under the rug which weakens a portion of the story itself.
You will enjoy the film as it’s tension begins once the half mark of the film begins and it all literally goes down hill from there. The sorrow once again doesn’t last as long as a better heart-wrenching moment should as the climbers fall to the elements completely out of their control. I can tell this much, I have no interest in pushing my limits on nature’s largest or highest anything. The quality of the visuals are equivalent to the cast itself and if that’s what you’re hoping to see you won’t be disappointed, but you will feel as desolate as the mountain itself.