On April 14, 2009 a friend and I flew in a twelve-seater airplane around Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain at 29,029 feet; a daunting experience being in the presence of one of nature’s most intimidating, unfriendly, hostile behemoths. The frigid colossus lacked man’s interference that day.
Director Baltasar Kormakur’s magnificent, prescient “Everest” focuses on the catastrophic events of May, 10-11, 1996; Rob Hall’s (strong, empathetic performance by Jason Clarke) “Adventurism” expedition; at 65 thousand dollars a person, captivated the well-trained, well-heeled, well-seasoned climbers; 7 men and one woman (Japanese, 47-year-old Yasuko Namba) whose egos plummet their psyches to go where few have tread. Another competing group led by jaded Scott Fisher (marvelous method actor, Jake Gyllenhaal), intrepid, the two men eventually join forces.
At the base camp, adjusting to an oxygen-diminished environment the group discusses the “why’s” of their possibly unattainable quest, flirting with an unpredictable, untimely demise; varied and vague reasons, sluggishly revealed, but Beck Weathers (formidable Josh Brolin) a pathologist from Texas, enigmatically problematic, mercurial, dogmatic, visually-impaired is the most defined personality of the excursion.
Michael Kelly depicts writer and climber Jon Krakauer (“Into Thin Air”) whose narrative informs much of the scenario; Krakauer is also featured in “Meru”, an inspirational documentary, with a more positive outcome.
Stunning, beautifully filmed in three-dimension, the landscape transcends the interlopers; “Everest”, first championed by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, perpetually holds its compelling, addictive allure for those who eventually, humbly, must wisely recognize that “the mountain always wins.”