Everest [IMAX 3D]
Disclaimer: I am so glad that after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro I have no further need to satisfy myself to scale any higher peaks.
This movie should be seen in the big screen and preferably in 3D. IMAX if possible. The cinematography is gorgeous and you need that screen size and the 3D depth to really appreciate the scale and the harrowing horror that mountain climbing can bring. Exciting misadventures notwithstanding, the narrative was ultimately as thin as the air up there, made worse by nagging inconsistencies and unrealism, and a Final Act that unabashedly dramatises the truth to milk your tears.
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur did a great job in getting straight into the story. However, that ended up being a double-edged sword. We got great shots of the gorgeous landscape and was right there in the midst of the action as the mountaineers begin their track and acclimatisation. But we barely know anything about the characters which made the final act seemed unearned and false in all its dramatisation. What we got in the end felt more like a shove in the back rather than a KO sucker-punch.
In the end, this really was just a story about two people: Jason Clarke and Josh Brolin, and this epic journey. Pity then that Kormakur had to resort to cheap dramatics to cajole us into empathising with them, but lucky for him, he got Kiera Knightly and
The best actor was without a doubt Emily Watson. Watson is heads and shoulders above everybody else in this film, and to me, she really is the film's emotional core.
Clarke is everywhere these days, and this perhaps is his strongest role since Zero Dark Thirty.
Brolin - again after Sicario - really does have that annoying, smug act down pat. Unfortunately, the way his character was written really made it hard for us to care about his story.
Knightly and Clarke surprisingly had good chemistry, and she did her bit part rather well. Well enough to definitely at least tug on the heart-strings.
Wright was really just being Claire. But strangely, a good fit for Brolin's character.
Jake Gyllenhaal was really just an extended cameo, but at least his character had some purpose in an odd sort of way. Sam Worthington - poor chap really needs to catch a break - appears, disappears, appears again but for what real purpose that another already-existing character cannot do?
Kudos to cinematographer Salvatore Totino! Breathtaking!
And an excellent score by Oscar-winning (for Atonement) Dario Marianelli.
Mountain-climbers will definitely appreciate this film more but just suspense your belief - this is Hollywood! - and non-climbers might just never want to climb a mountain again. IMAX and 3D highly recommended.