Everest (12A)

Everest tells the haunting true story of Rob Hall and the climbers that followed him up the famous mountain to an uncertain fate in 1996.

Making attempts to reach Mount Everest’s summit has become a major cash cow. Gone are the days when one of two climbers, along with their Sherpas, would attempt to overcome the world’s biggest mountain. Professional guides had made it their business to help clients combat Mount Everest, for a huge cost of course.

One such guide is Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) who runs Adventure Consultants. He is the voice of reason, ensuring that his team of paying customers know the gravity of risk that they are taking. “Human beings aren’t built to function at the cruising altitude of a 747” he tells them.

Rob’s team includes Doug Hansen (John Hawkes) on his third attempt to reach the summit, Yasuko (Naoko Mori) and wealthy Texan Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin). He has also organised for a travel journalist named Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly) to come along to document the journey, hoping that Jon can help provide some good publicity for his business.

Once the team reach basecamp they meet Helen (Emily Watson), the camp’s manager and all-round mother figure. It’s her job to remain in radio contact with the team, keep them on schedule and update their families for them.

Jon asks the team before they begin their adventure why they want to climb Mount Everest. “Because it’s there!” they say in unison. There is a backlog of expeditions waiting to set off towards to summit so Rob decides to team up with a rival company run by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) to save time.

In the early hours of 10th May 1996 climbers from both expeditions start their final ascent towards the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. We watch as the brave men attempt to cross crevasses using Knock Off Nigel style ladders.

Then all hell breaks loose when without warning a violent storm strikes the mountain, trapping the thrill seekers in one of the most deadly blizzards ever encountered. Rob must act quickly to save the lives of both teams before it engulfs them all.

The hostile weather conditions means that each character tends to wear big coats with huge hoods, reflective sunglasses and sport an impressive beard. Now while they might look rather chic, it makes it impossible at times to know who is talking.

Battling against the harshest conditions imaginable, the climbers must stick together to survive against the odds. They have to endure blistering winds, freezing temperatures and to make things worse their oxygen tanks soon run empty.

The climbers’ desperation to reach the mountain’s peak soon shifts into a will to make it to the descent, to survive.

Everest is an epic action adventure thriller filled with ice, snow, beards, mountains and men attempting to shout important instructions through their snowy beards, above the deafening high winds.

The cinematography is stunning, giving you a unique insight into how dangerous the breath-taking mountain is. So it’s well worth making the effort to see this movie in 3D.

The impressive cast is reason enough to go and see Everest; Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Michael Kelly, Jake Gyllenhaal, the list goes on. Each character is given a back story, with some getting more development than other. Like Rob promising his heavily pregnant wife that he will make it back home in time for the birth of their first child, or Beck talking to his frosty wife on the satellite phone apologising for not calling on their anniversary. He uses the mountain and the weather conditions for the delay, typical man huh?

Everest is based on what was thought to be the worst disaster to ever occur in the Mount Everest region in Nepal. But whilst filming the movie an even worse event occurred. The harrowing reality of Mount Everest and the destruction it can have on the lives of climbers and their families was witness by the crew first-hand when an avalanche occurred on 18th April 2014 killed 16 people, a higher casualty rate than the 1996 disaster.

Everest delivers painstakingly gripping moments that keep you rooting for the explorers, only to break your heart in the next scene. It is an intense and emotionally powerful movie that’s sure to climb to the top of the box office.

By Ruth Walker
★★★★☆

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