Everest is a 2015 disaster drama thriller film directed by Baltasar Kormakur and having the great cast consisting of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is a really good film and a nice tribute to the real-life people that paid their lives here.
The film is based on a true story which means that it is also a biopic along with being an adventure, thriller and disaster drama. That genre mix does not work particularly well here with the dramatic elements lacking and the thrilling sequences are few and far between. The thrilling moments are there and once there are pretty good, but I expected it to be a lot more intense than it was. It works the best as an adventure as the technical aspects are absolutely gorgeous, but more on that later.
As for the dramatic and biopic parts, it does a good job, but could have been better nonetheless. It is about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. It follows two expedition groups and their later survival struggles when the storm hits. Now, the movie is way too melodramatic for my taste. Some sequences tend to just go into maudlin territory with too much emotional intensity, too much crying and drama. However, on the other hand, this tragedy really happened so I cannot be too hard on the filmmakers for wanting to have a more emotional approach. Also, the ending is absolutely magnificent and simply beautiful. Showing the pictures of real people and then their families and children made sense, it was a nice touch and a wonderful tribute for them and their families, but above all the emotion at the end was really earned because the relationships before were properly explored and accentuated. And the whole ending with the last shot of the picture of the main character’s child is just so moving and heartbreaking. And I also adore the ending because I realized what a terrific job the casting director mostly did here as most of the actors look like the people they play which was a great touch.
The characters are okay, but just the ones that are explored. Rob Hall is excellent as the protagonist and the moments with his wife are moving. Scott Fischer I also found to be good and an interesting character whereas Beck, while annoying, is nicely realized as well. The female characters are pretty annoying with their overly dramatic attitude with Helen being the most notorious at that. But Yasuko is great and her moment on the top of the mountain is easily one of the finest and most memorable moments in the movie. But Doug is of course the finest character here as he is the only one to give a proper explanation for why he is doing this which is great for his character but is eventually a shame as none of the others get that treatment unfortunately. And I expected more on the intellectual side of things.
The acting is superb. Jason Clarke once again is stupendous and surprised me how good he is whereas Josh Brolin is also excellent and of course Jake Gyllenhaal is always great and this is no exception. Emily Watson did an okay job in an annoying role, Sam Worthington is surprisingly good as well and Keira Knightley is also quite good although not particularly fitting for the role. But all of the others do fit as I mentioned before and this is an excellent cast and all of the actors and actresses are fine across the board.
Now, this is a weirdly and badly edited film. It achieves the impossible task for a disaster film and that is being more interesting in the first than in the second half and that is because the second half tends to have too many overly manipulative and melodramatic moments and it just drags at times whereas the first half never drags and is genuinely better executed. But Everest has not only a great conclusion, but also some incredible sequences that are triumphant but also moving and memorable. Speaking of triumphant, it is interesting that they never went for that approach which I appreciated as this mission and the people that go there should know that it just does not mean much and is too much danger to begin with. And they explored how dangerous it is and they showed it with stunning cinematography and arresting scenery. Yes, Everest is technically marvelous and is best to be seen in the theatres for its wide scope and just breathtaking imagery and some great camera movements. The score is also quite solid as is the dialogue and the acting. The directing is okay, but could have been better and the pacing is troublesome once again. But it is realistic, it is moving and it is important to see and the movie works quite good as a biopic, but not so much on other grounds. And while emotional, and too emotional at times, Everest is rarely smart and thought-provoking which is the reason why is fails on the intellectual side and why it disappointed me nonetheless.
Everest is a pretty good film that although too melodramatic at times, is still moving at the end with a perfect conclusion, it is visually stunning with arresting cinematography and scenery, it has a great cast with every actor and actress delivering a good performance and it is overall a nice tribute for the people who gave their lives in this disaster. It works well as a biopic and as an adventure, but not so much as a drama and thriller because it doesn’t have enough intense moments, it eventually goes into maudlin territory and it is not particularly smart and doesn’t delve deeper into the psychology of the characters. It is a really good film, but I expected more from it nevertheless.