Everest is told from the climber’s point of view so the movie has a workmanlike approach to re-telling the true story of the 1996 Everest disaster.
It shows the logistics of mountain climbing from the departure in the Airport to the torturous climb at the summit. Ample time is given to important details from the small to the absolute essentials. You’ll feel like a participant as the plot goes through the stages of climbing from securing permits to acclimatizing exercises that are already dangerous by itself.
The cinematography makes the struggle of the climbers relatable through imposing images of Everest and helps the audience follow their progress through visuals. Even if they throw a lot of jargon, you’ll know what’s going on. The sound editing is superb – the sound of boots against the snow and howls of the wind is as clear as the conversations and heavy breathing of the characters.
The cast does a good job of instilling some personality to their characters even if they don’t have much to work with. The movie is more focused on their struggles rather than fleshing them out.
This lack of relatable characters becomes a problem as the story gears up for the climax. It’s clear that climbing Everest is frickin’ hard, but why should we care about these people more than the Sherpas who risk their lives every day and get no credit? why should we pay attention to this one disaster when statistics say that 1996 was statistically a safer-than-average year?
The supporting characters back at home do provide some emotional aspect to the film but there’s not much dramatic heft when their husbands are unremarkable from the rest of the climbers.
Still, as the movie ends and the harsh truth that we’ve already seen coming is shown, Everest is a compelling movie that achieves its purpose with blunt honesty.
It is not about the glory of making it to the top nor the courage of its climbers. Everest is a cautionary tale of the inconsequential existence of man in the natural world. It reminds us that nature is never something to be conquered. It should be feared and respected.
Everest is a realistic mountain climbing cautionary tale but lacks engaging characters to make you emotionally invested in its story.