Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Cast: Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Josh Brolin, Naoko Mori, Michael Kelly, Martin Henderson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ang Phula Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Debicki, Robin Wright, Vanessa Kirby, Clive Standen, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson
Seen on: 5.10.2015
Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) thought he found his niche when he established guided tours up Mount Everest for more or less amateur climbers, but since he started, many others have followed his lead and now base camp is full with groups – one of them led by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal). Rob, too, brings yet another group to climb the top, among them journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), postman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), enthusiastic climber Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) and Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori) who wants to complete her collection of over 8000m peaks she’s climbed. But the group encounters more than one problem.
I’m not a mountain person. I don’t even understand skiing as a pastime, something people do voluntarily (and I’m fucking Austrian). So the concept of climbing Mount Everest is utterly alien to me. I understand it even less after having seen this film.
I didn’t really know the events this film is based on, I only knew that people would die (they did), though the script did keep me in suspense about who would die and who would survive. Since they have a pretty big cast of characters (that they handle surprisingly well and clearly), there are many options.
In all that hugeness of cast and characters, they still manage to find the time to show a bit more of the sherpas than we usually see in those kinds of films. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a film about crazy (mostly) white, (mostly) male people, but at least they have the decency to mention that there are always local guides as well, who have their own problems and animosities to deal with and who risk an awful lot climbing that mountain. Much like the one moment where they mention the environmental strain Mount Everest is under due to the hiking tourism, at least they made an effort to mention that there is more to the story than some tourists dying.
I thought that I might get some insight into why people would choose to risk their lives for standing on top of a mountain for a couple of minutes. I didn’t. The only reaction I could really understand in that regard was that of Doug who comes so close to the top that he doesn’t want to turn around anymore even when it might have been advisable. But other than that, I could only shake my head and freeze sympathetically.
The film was well-played, well-made and even the 3D was pretty cool. The script wasn’t bad. But in the end it lacked a sense of meaning, so I doubt I’ll ever watch it again.