Everest (2015)

2:05 PM

Never Let Go
Everest is directed by Baltasar Kormakur (Contraband, 2 Guns) and stars Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Josh Brolin (W., Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), Jake Gyllenhaal (Southpaw, Nightcrawler) and Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Imitation Game). "A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm". Will Everest be able to kick off the awards season with a bang or will it just be a dull and long trip?

The reason I was excited to see Everest was (I know this may sound stupid) that I really enjoy going on the roller coaster of the same name at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Then, I saw the trailer for the film and really enjoyed it. From that point onwards, I had high hopes. I definitely wasn't wrong to have high hopes as Everest was a very good movie. It is definitely an awards contender in some of the smaller categories such as cinematography. You can sometimes tell where the film is going but it is generally not your cliche expedition movie. 

So lets start with the films strongest point - its cinematography. The film is extremely beautiful to look at so much so that you become immersed in the world of the film. Everest has definitely been done justice by this film - it looks absolutely amazing! The shot angles that were used were also very well done - this helped to build tension - I didn't think I would mind much about heights and the danger factor - but I was actually worried for these characters when the camera was looking down on them as it looked so high up. I definitely believe Everest deserves a nomination for cinematography as it is the first film in a long time where I come out of the cinema thinking about it - I usually care more about the story or acting but no, with Everest its all about the cinematography. Beautifully shot.

All because the cinematography is good doesn't mean that the rest of the film is bad. I thought that the acting was very strong in this film. The cast of Everest are mostly B list stars that are known for being in these types of movies but they do an excellent job. The stand out performance probably came from Jason Clarke who was very good - he was a convincing group leader but I also believed him when he was in pain. I was also very impressed with Josh Brolin who did a fantastic job. Even though their roles were much smaller, Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal also did extremely good jobs - audiences could probably relate to Knightley the most out of all the characters. I was also very impressed by Emily Watson who I haven't really seen in a film before and noticed - even though she wasn't involved in the action, she was very good and very convincing. I also thought her character wasn't dumb and did everything she could to try and get the trekkers back to base. 

I liked Everest's story as I kind of knew where it was going and it didn't just feel like watching someones life (e.g. Southpaw). However, the film does have a few narrative problems. For example, it is not made very clear when the trekkers begin their expedition - you are left to assume that towards the start of the film that they are just practising/training. The biggest narrative problem I had with the film was the use of time - one of the characters is told to stay put for 30 minutes but 4 hours go by and they just sit there - I think this needed a bit more explaining. SPOILERS await: also, the same character appears to be dead/frozen for numerous days but all of a sudden wakes up - this felt a little unrealistic and makes me think that the story has been exaggerated slightly. The film also doesn't feel overlong which I thought it would with a running time of over 2 hours. 

I saw the film in a Dolby Atmos cinema and the sound was absolutely fantastic - I really felt it added to how immersive the film is and I would definitely recommend you see it in IMAX or a cinema with Dolby Atmos sound.

The film is very emotional at times - you can go from routing for the characters and feeling happy for them to feeling very sad and scared for them. However, I believe the film wasn't as emotional as it needed to be at times - when members of the team die, I didn't feel that the score helped to add to the emotion - it was kind of a 'oh well it happens all the time' which is true but the film could have maybe been a little more respectful/do them justice. I did genuinely feel scared for the characters and you just knew at times that things weren't going to work out well - for example, one character is behind but still wants to reach the summit so decides to go alone. The film kind of had similarities to a traditional horror film - the trekkers were ok when all together but as soon as they started to split up, bad things started to happen. 

Everest is definitely not a disappointment. The film is brilliant. Everest is beautiful to look at and definitely isn't a sugarcoated advert for the mountain. The cinematography for the film is fantastic and award worthy. The acting is fantastic and no one lets the team down. However, the film does have narrative issues and isn't very aware of time. Everest is also moving at times but sometimes could do with being a little more emotional. Once you reach the end of Everest, you feel truly satisfied.  

4 STARS
A-

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