By: Logan Sowash
Everest was a film that I’ve had a mixed relationship with. When I saw the first set photos and official cast list, I immediately thought it was going to be Oscar bait that was worth the money solely for the cast involved. After the seeing the first trailer, however, diminished my anticipation. The film didn’t look horrible at all; it was just underwhelming after finally seeing some footage in action. Fast forward to opening night and as I sat in a nearly vacant theater, I was just hoping to get my money’s worth.
In case you don’t know, Everest is a historic drama based off the accounts of the survivors of the Mount Everest disaster in 1996. The film follows a group as they climb the treacherous Mount Everest only to have extreme complications occur as they attempt to climb down, leading to injuries and horrible deaths. Surprisingly enough, the film devotes a decent chunk of its runtime to the group preparing for the climb which adds a very interesting look into what it takes to handle the mountain in a responsible way. The film’s devotion to both the preparation and the initial climb is wonderful because it doesn’t necessarily drag some parts to a mundane extreme, giving the story a tight and enjoyable feel. While the story did have some pacing moments near the end, the film still kept me interested for its entire runtime.
The film has a lot of great things going for it. First off, the cast works really well for each role given. Performances from actors such as Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and John Hawkes were fantastic. The ensemble cast is so diverse yet enjoyable all across the board, strengthening the immersion. Secondly, the cinematography is amazing. The film’s mix of camerawork and CGI really does a phenomenal job at capturing the beauty and horror of Mount Everest.
Despite those perks, it’s not a perfect film. I mentioned earlier that the ending had a pacing problem but it also just underutilizes its diverse cast. Great actors like Jake Gyllenhaal and Keira Knightley are in the film yet barely have little to any screentime which is understandable yet disappointing. The biggest flaw with the film, however, is its predictability. Despite knowing absolutely nothing about the source material, I could tell who was going to live or die as soon as the major conflict started. They don’t reinvent the wheel in terms of story structure, which is fine, but it also makes the last half of the film drag in comparison to everything shown before that point.
Overall, I really did enjoy this movie. Despite my gripes, it was a much better experience than I anticipated. If you haven’t seen it yet but are definitely interested, I would recommend seeing it in a theater or even an IMAX. I thought it looked great in a regular theater so I cannot imagine how it would look in an IMAX. It wasn’t the Oscar bait that I initially thought it was going to be but, in this case, I was totally fine with that.