By: Kyle Casey, Contributing Writer
Conceptually, a movie simply titled “Everest,” chronicling the true story of a 1996 deadly Mount Everest expedition, would make for prime cinema.
With the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Josh Brolin to headline the film, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, just about everything.
The real life events of a two-group Mount Everest expedition, led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal), are the premise for the film, and while the concept draws interest, the plot fails to excite.
Hall and Fischer lead their respective groups of eager climbers, ranging from experienced hikers to first-time Everest visitors. The film follows their journey from first setting foot in Nepal to reaching the summit of the mountain.
The plot makes for a late ignition of any sort of action, as a post-summit storm poses deadly consequences, but the whole event happens much too late in the film for the audience to feel engaged. With a slow, boring buildup to the ultimate expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, the film struggles to gain interest from the get-go.
Relying on breathtaking views of the mountain and the surrounding areas, the film focuses much more on the scenery than its star-studded cast.
Along with a struggle to succeed with Mount Everest at the forefront over the cast, the decision to focus more on Hall’s story than Fischer’s is the doom of the film. Clarke’s portrayal of Hall is uninteresting and dull.
On the contrary, Gyllenhaal’s depiction of Fischer brings the only real life to the film, as the longhaired, bearded Fischer is the lone absorbing, energetic character to lean on. While Gyllenhaal delivers a riveting performance, it feels like a tease, as his role in the film is rather minimal.
Along with struggles to lock onto the right characters and plot for the film, the entire post-summit storm encounter makes for somewhat comedic cinema.
Profiling such a deadly event, the deaths of each climber should be dismal and tough to watch, making the viewer have a level of remorse.
But no death ever feels this way. Two of the climbers’ deaths occur in the blink of an eye, as they conveniently fall off mountainsides in quick, emotionless deaths.
Each death is uninspiring, and no single death ever provides that speechless, teary-eyed feeling for the viewer.
“Everest” displays good intentions, and had the makings of an award-winning film.
But from poor screenwriting, to uninspired acting, to an inability to ever put the viewer on the edge of their seat, the film falls well short of its potential.
I give this film 5 out of 10 stars.