Everest is seen as the pinnacle of the climbing world, ever since Sir Edmund Hillary first summited the mountain countless numbers of people have followed in his footsteps to stand on the top of the world. In the early nineties, the mountain became a focus for commercialised climbs, technology and new equipment enabled people to attempt the climb assisted by teams of paid professionals who had perfected the technique of summiting the peak.
It seemed that if you had the money, you could stand on the top of the world and what was once seen as the impossible became achievable to the masses. However, in 1996 this view was changed in a very dramatic way after two commercial teams were caught in a horrific storm high on the mountain leading to eight deaths that included the lead climbers from both of the commercial teams.
Based on the book “Into thin air” by John Krakauer, Everest follows the story of two main commercial teams, Adventure Consultants lead by New Zealander Rob Hall and Mountain Madness lead by American Scott Fisher. As you would expect the star of this movie is the Mountain itself, filmed in IMAX the camera work is spectacular and director Baltasar Kormakur shows great respect to the story.
Where other Mountaineering movies are unbearably over dramatised, Everest simply sticks to the real story which has all of the drama that you could ever want in a movie. The cast is solid with great performances from Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and Jake Gyllenhaal but the stand out performance for me came from Emily Watson who plays the head of base camp and the person who attempts to control the chaos that unfolds when the storm hits the mountain. The film can be very painful to watch at times and the scenes involving Keira Knightly who plays Rob Halls, wife, are suitably touching.
All in all, Everest is a big budget disaster movie that delivers on every level. Climbing at altitude is an extremely dangerous pursuit and after watching this movie it is hard to understand why anyone would ever put themselves into such a dangerous environment. If you are interested in Mountaineering or have read any of the books that focus on the 1996 disaster then I would strongly recommend watching Everest.