TRUE STORY: Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from the movie Everest.
TRUE STORY: Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from the movie Everest. Universal Pictures

Awe-inspiring Everest tale

BASED on the real life 1996 Mount Everest disaster, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur's Everest follows a series of expedition groups, led by professional climbers but filled with amateur thrill seekers, as they attempt to scale the world's highest peak.

But a barrage of unexpected, unpredictable storms turns this journey to the top of the world into a desperate effort to survive.

It's hard to imagine many real life places on earth more awe-inspiring than the snow-capped peak of Mount Everest.

Since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first returned from conquering the mountain in 1953, hundreds have flocked to Everest for their shot at reaching the top.

And Everest does a pretty good job of capturing the awe and intimidation felt by this band of would be conquerors.

Some very strong cinematography reveals the beauty and ferocity of Everest and the impossibility of the task faced by the characters.

And there are no shortage of characters in this movie.

Featuring a huge, and I mean huge ensemble of actors including Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal just to name a few, Everest understandably wants to do justice to all who fought for survival whether they returned home or were lost to the mountain.

The problem is, with so many stories to tell and a very limited amount of time to tell them, Everest never really gets to the 'why' of anything important.

Sure there are hints, and inevitably some characters get more focus than others. It's a film constantly trying to say too much to ever carve out a structurally satisfying narrative.

I've mentioned before that this may just be a necessary drawback to bio-pics, and Everest still has lots to enjoy.

The atmosphere alone is enough to make me want to see the mountain with my own eyes someday.


  • Release date: September 17
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Running time: 121 mins
  • Director: Baltasar Kormakur
  • Stars: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Showing at:
  • Limelight, Riverlink
  • Birch Carroll and Coyle, Ipswich
  • Reading Cinemas, Redbank
  • Star rating: 3/5

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