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Why I'm Never Climbing Everest
This movie is based off of Beck Weather's account of what occurred on Everest in May of 1996. I've never read his book, but I am interested in reading it in the future. I did read the book written by Jon Krakauer, which is what originally got me to watch this. Because I was fascinated by all the elements that led to this truly horrific disaster.
For those that aren't aware, in 1996 there were a lot of people that were trying to get to the summit of the tallest mountain int he world. This, specifically, follows two groups; Adventure Consultants led by Rob Hall and Mountain Madness led by Scott Fischer.
On the day that these groups went up, there was an enormous storm. In their determination to get up to the summit (specifically the desire for high class clients to get to the top; Sandy Pittman and Jon Krakauer), they missed their turn around time. That's the primary reason that so many people ended up dying that day.
There's a huge difference between reading about what happened and seeing it. They did recreate the terrifying obstacles that the men and women had to overcome in order to get there. And as someone that is frightened of heights, there were a lot of tense moments.
There are a lot of fantastic performances in this film. Jason Clarke plays Rob Hall and he's absolutely fantastic. Towards the end he portrays the absolute hopelessness of the situation he is in perfectly. There are two House of Cards alum in Michael Kelly as John Krakauer and Robin Wright as Peaches Weathers.
Josh Brolin plays Beck Weathers really well. He's this Southern Republican guy that's just stubborn. He absolutely refuses to die, and the film actually cuts out the second time that Beck Weathers was left to die by the rest of the group.
The only complaint is Jake Gyllenhaal's portrayl of Scott Fischer. He comes off as this kind of guy that you can't quite take seriously. The first impression is ruined because he's sitting there shirtless and drinking at base camp. As true as that might have been, it really sets the tone for how he was seen in the rest of the movie. Which isn't a particularly great one.
There is this little voice towards the second half of the movie that kept reminding me that soon these people would be dead. And that they died in real life. These horrific deaths, lonely deaths, freezing deaths. They all happened and there was no way to escape.
This movie does have to make up some things as it goes along. No one's entirely sure what happened to Doug Hansen or entirely how he died. The same is said for Andy Harris. The events leading up to Rob Hall's death is a little bit made up, because no one was up there with him. Although conversations that he had with his pregnant wife at the time, do help figure out a time line and the fact that his body was eventually found clear up how he died. Yasuko Namba,
Although I haven't read the book I am aware that Beck Weathers talks a lot about how anti-leaving people to their own devices. Which is the general consensus among climbers that are going onto Everest. It's hard for me to agree or disagree because I've never been in a situation where helping someone else could result in more death.
It's implied that was the reason that Rob Hall didn't survive, because he was trying to save Doug. It leads to a mixed message. Beck Weathers very clearly survived his ordeal, despite being left in the snow over a night (as well as surviving being left in a tent on his own). Considering that this movie was based off of Beck Weathers' account, one would think that it would be closer to his own message than scrambling it up.
Visually, this movie is stunning. But it was filmed during a disaster on Everest in 2014. Apparently there wasn't anyone that was actually there at the time that the disaster took place. But there are actual shots of the mountain.
Is it worth the watch?
If you're interested, yes. If true death scenarios upset you a lot, then this isn't for you. It's a well told story, even if it's not 100% factual. The acting is phenomenal.
Safe for Kids: +10
Directed by: Baltasar Kormakur.
Writers: Simon Beaufoy, William Nicholson, Lem DObbs, Mark Medoff, Justin Isbell.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightly, John Hawkes.