A group of climbers go on an expedition on Mt. Everest. All having their reasons for climbing, and all leaving their loved ones behind. Eager to prove themselves worthy of climbing and reach accomplishment in their lives, they are thrilled to go on this adventure. As they begin their climb up the mountain they use all of the strength they have, battling the cold, and the mountain itself. However, when a massive storm hits, they find themselves in a battle for their lives.
Based on the true story, Everest follows the long expedition of the climbers that took several lives. It another entry the disaster film genre following the likes of Titanic, The Perfect Storm, Poseidon, and amongst others. However, Everest is one that doesn’t live up as well to the likes of the aforementioned films. While the story itself tries to remain as faithful to the climbers and their families, there is a lot that it lacks as far as what it tries to bring to an audience. The first hour of the film is all about the climb up, with many events coming off as repetitive. It is also during this time that we get to learn about the characters. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exactly happen. Other than our main leads such as Jason Clarke and Josh Brolin, we don’t get to really know anything about our other characters or their backgrounds at all, which leaves us almost not caring whether most of them make it out or not. This including Jake Gyllenhaal. The last hour of the film is centered around the major tragedy of the story with the climbers battling the storm and getting down the mountain. While the first hour drags and makes the film seem longer than it does, the last half helps move it along faster. It helps it by amping up the drama, the intensity, and the thrills. When it does happen, you find yourself very much immersed in the situation of the characters, you can feel the chill of the storm and the sense of dread they face. A lot of this in thankful in large part to the excellent cinematography, effects, and setting. It beautifully captures the heights of the mountain and sense of distance. That said, this film is best to be viewed on a larger format screen in 3D (the 3D was incredible and adds a lot to the film). Essentially, the film is much longer than it needed to be, the first hour could have cut quite a bit and made the overall viewing much more satisfying.
As far as the performances go, it would be unfair to say they were bad, because they weren’t. However, there almost was very little for a lot of the cast to work with, and nothing that really makes them stand out. The only noteworthy performances come from Jason Clarke who plays our lead climber Rob Hall. He’s the one who is desperate to make sure everyone gets through the ordeal safe and isn’t willing to leave his crew behind, even when it involves putting his own life on the line. Clarke shows his determination and strength very well, but also trying to hide his fear of failing to save his friends and not getting back to his wife. His wife Jan, played by Keira Knightley is the other stand out performance of the film. While her screen time is limited, the scene towards the end that she does have are very much heartbreaking and you can really feel the fear and pain her character is going through. Emily Watson provides a strong performance as well, but more so in a sense of making due with what she has as the woman trying to help bring back the climbers safely. Unfortunately, we also have two major names in the cast like Jake Gyllenhaal and Sam Worthington who have very little screen time and are ultimately unable to even give us any sense of the characters. Not providing bad performances by any means, but there really wasn’t anything to their characters for them to use. This can also be said for the rest of the cast. Fine performances, but very little to work with.
Everest succeeds in being visually amazing, and provides a lot of drama and thrills in the latter half, but it is brought down by a very slow and uninteresting start, along with undeveloped characters, leaving our solid cast with not much to work with.