Based on the true story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, Everest starts Jason Clarke as Rob Hall an expedition group leader who takes a group of adventures to the very top of the world. However, a storm is approaching and many of the climbers find themselves in very dangerous situations.
Just so you know Mount Everest isn't the world's tallest mountain (that honour goes to Mauna Kea in Hawaii) but it is the highest, that of course doesn't make climbing Mount Everest any less of a daunting challenge and impressive feat as this film shows. The mountain is captured by Salvatore Totino's cinematography in a way that emphasises its sheer size and deadly power but also captures its resplendent beauty. The sights are something to behold as the hikers are dwarfed by a mountain that's getting even bigger every passing millennium.
One of the main issues with man vs nature films is that the gigantic size of the landscapes involved tend to dwarf over the human characters. In the first act this is a major problem as so many characters vie to grab whatever screen time they can the film comes off as rather uninvolving, slow and quite boring. We have numerous scenes that flick back to the safety of home as wives wait anxiously by the phone waiting for any news concerning their husbands that add to the slow pace. The film even skips past some factors of the trek that have been built up ominously (such as Khumbu Icefall) and it's seems rather surprising to see how quickly they reach base camp three or four, it just seems the pacing is way off in the first half of the film.
However, once the viewer treks their way through the film's stop-start opening act there is something to found as the film reaches its peak in terms of quality and action. When the more dramatic elements of film grind into the gear, the human story becomes a worthy adversary of the mountain's huge size. The human endeavour and will to survive becomes quite inspiring, and the relationships shared do become quite moving. What's also impressive is that the mountain never loses its fear factor, it is quite terrifying that the lives of characters are lost almost unceremoniously highlighting the fact that the mountain is not one for mercy.
Mercifully, the film doesn't create any tension between the characters but focuses on their tense battle against nature. This is of enormous benefit to the film as it doesn't waste time building tension between characters which will not add anything to story instead it focuses on their aim to conquer the world's highest mountain. The cast list is a impressive one and the likes of Emily Watson, Jason Clarke and Josh Brolin who all deliver great performances.
Though a few loose ends need tying up (why were those oxygen tanks empty?) and the first act is very slow going, Everest is a rewarding and tense film.