Everest: An epic encounter of man versus mountain

Published: October 3, 2015

The director along with the skills of the actors, have created a breath taking masterpiece that will keep you glued to the screen. PHOTO: EVEREST FACEBOOK PAGE

Mount Everest has been a subject in many movies and for all the right reasons. The mountain is any mountaineer’s ultimate dream to surpass and therefore movie directors wish to portray the life of an adventurer trying to reach the top of this summit.

In Everest, director Baltasar Kormákur makes an effort in summing up the real life story of Jon Krakauer, who was part of the expedition that faced disaster when eight people lost their lives while trying to climb  Mount Everest in 1996. The movie is an adaptation of Krakauer’s book ‘Into Thin Air’ and stars Jason Clarke (Rob Hall), Jake Gyllenhaal (Scott Fischer), Josh Brolin (Beck Weathers), and Michael Kelly (Jon Krakauer) among others.

It is a disaster movie that will keep you at the edge of your seats and will make you hold your breath in curiosity at certain moments.

Photo: IMDb

The actors have given a performance that will captivate you, especially during the disaster scenes. The leading cast shows brilliant expressions of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, giving the movie vivid details and synchronises the scenes with their facial expressions and vocal intonations.  The actors have also delivered the dialogues as per the requirements of the plot.

The plot makes you relate with everything that is happening with the actors. You will feel the anxiety when the climbers will be making their climb. You will also feel their parents’ pain when they leave for the expedition. You will learn about the physical challenges involved in surviving one of the harshest climates on Earth.

Photo: IMDb

Gyllenhaal who has appeared in movies such as October Sky, Bubble Boy, The Day After Tomorrow, Prince of Persia, and Source Code, appears in Everest with a new persona to provide the story with a strong character and adds strength to the plot. Instead of the movie being a tale of mountaineers trying to survive, the director, along with the skills of the actors, have created a breath-taking masterpiece that will keep you glued to the screen.

Photo: IMDb

The teams on this expedition find hardships and this movie focuses on how they manage to survive, despite many of their team members losing their lives. Everest stirs up the imagination of the viewers and gives them an insight on the snowy terrain, which is any mountaineer’s dream but can also become their worst nightmare.

Photo: IMDb

Recollecting the events of that fateful day of May 1996, Everest portrays all major happenings of the day. However, making a movie based on true events is challenging as all events must be portrayed as they happened in reality. Moreover, there is no room to add fiction when making such movies.

This is perhaps the reason why Krakauer has shown his negation for the movie as he believes that it does not portray all the events accurately. Krakauer says that,

“Anyone who goes to that movie and wants a fact-based account should read Into Thin Air.”

Moreover, Krakauer has accused the director for not doing justice with certain scenes, because they were far from his actual experience in 1996.

Photo: Everest Facebook page

Even if the real life experiences are not shown precisely, the movie does portray gripping details that will leave you speechless. Using special effects and sets, Everest has been shot with camera angles that will keep you curious regarding their next move. The scenes depicting dying in extreme temperatures and surviving with scarce resources are intense. Although, according to Krakauer, the movie does not express the entire events in detail, the movie is regardless good enough for the viewers who enjoy action and thrill in an adventure movie.

Moreover, the way the characters’ lives are intertwined and how they try saving each other after the disaster creates a conflict. It shows how man goes against the mountain and the forces of nature. The experience you get after watching Everest, particularly in 3D, is something you will remember for a long time.

Photo: IMDb

Where every movie has a plot that makes it successful, Everest on the other hand shares an experience of the might of Everest in vivid detail with the audiences. However, the length of the movie, at two and a half hours, drags it to the point where you want it to end. It would have been better if the movie was of a shorter duration of time.

Photo: IMDb

Although movies about mountaineers climbing Mount Everest and other mountains have been released in the past, including Cliffhanger (1993), Vertical Limit (2000), Touching the Void (2003), North Face (2008), Everest leaves all the previous productions leaps behind. The credit goes to the high quality of camera effects and the inclusion of 3D effects in the movie.

Hence the life threatening events shown in Everest – despite not being similar to what Krakauer faced – are real enough to astound you.


Muhammad Omar Iftikhar

The author is a freelance writer and blogger and writes for various English dailies of Pakistan. He tweets @omariftikhar (twitter.com/omariftikhar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.