Thursday, February 25, 2016

3 Short Paragraphs: Everest

2015, Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband) -- download

Why do men climb mountains? Because they are there? Seems a little facile doesn't it? Everest focuses on the men who keep on climbing the mountain, often as continued attempts to reach the peak that has eluded them. And supporting them are teams of "adventure companies" whose job and expertise is to guide the climbers safely. So, yes some men climb mountains because it's a paycheck.  Those are the guys are who intrigue me, not the idiots who spend vast quantities of cash to be frozen, exhausted and potentially dead. They were the reason I watched this movie.

Notice I said men, men, men. Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys) leads one adventure company, Jake Gyllenhaal leads the other. The people they are leading up include John Hawkes (Deadwood), Josh Brolin, Michael Kelly (The Adjustment Bureau) and ... Naoko Mori (Torchwood). Emily Watson, Keira Knightley and Robin Wright are also in the background as support and wives. This is a man's movie about men doing as men will do. In this biographical flick, we get these two groups (lots of other nameless climbers in the background) combine in order to successfully reach the peak in spite of some bad weather coming up. And it all goes wrong. People die. There is something eyerolling to be said there about men doing as men do.

So, you have a handful of great actors and a decent director building a challenging story around icey set pieces and fake snow. There is a reason the best scenes are in the camps at the foot of the mountain. The rest is low key disaster flick footage, unless you are into climbing -- scary precipices, narrow ledges and blinding snowstorms. This was another reason I watched it, to see if they could build a movie from the small idea of people going up and getting back down. The drama is very low key, focused on loss and strength of character. People are going to die, so you are just ... waiting. Why? How? Railing against stupidity and ego was my primary emotion, as few of these men are unlikable. I did not get out of it any more than I expected and confirmed my own desire to not climb it, because it is there.