Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Emily Watson
Why they’d need a cast that boasts of names like Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Emily Watson, to pull off a two hour stunt that requires little acting and a script that reeks of abject laziness, is beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations. But Everest's director Baltasar Kormakur and writers William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy manage to do just that and worse.
Based on the real life tragedy that befell multiple expeditions to the top of Mount Everest in 1996 resulting in many fatalities, Everest takes its cue from Jon Krakauer’s best selling book Into Thin Air, which chronicles the fateful events of the expedition. However, too many characters and too little context give the tragedy little scale and even less emotion.
Almost all the characters are stripped of any real depth or pathos, making all of them look like factory produced identical man-dolls with scraggly beards and impressive built. After a point, once they’re suited up for the long climb, there’s little you can do to tell one person apart from the other.
There’s plenty to see, of course. From the rickety bus ride through Nepal, while the score of DDLJ plays indistinctly in the background, to the deep, green valleys, to the wide panoramic shots of the snowy mountain ranges to the dizzying heights of the summits to the vertigo inducing depths of the ravines - cinematographer Salvatore Totino makes not a single mistake.
While the movie does a great job of throwing up terrifyingly beautiful shots of the mountains, there’s little the director does to capture the existential terror of fighting against the elements. Man versus mountain. Fear versus courage. Pride versus true heroism. Everest does little to give wings to these themes. And the less we speak of the women characters in the movie, the better. Apart from looking worried and sobbing from the other end of a telephone, they have little to do. But Knightley, Wright and Watson make the best of these skeletal characters anyway.
Don’t go to the film hoping for edge of the seat excitement, watch it for the pretty scenery if you absolutely must.