Just wow. I have been very fortunate that the last few documentaries that I’ve seen has been really great and enjoyable ( Citizenfour, Dark Star: HR Gigers Welt, Amy, Deep Web).
When the Everest trailer came out, I was curious about it but never got around to watching it and even less so when I read some reviews. Luckily enough for me, Meru came out around the same time and I could get me some great avalanche shot fix.
So anyway, on with the movie.
The narrative in this was really enjoyable. The pacing for it in terms of introduction to the climbers was done in a very organic way. They did the climb twice and during the first run, there wasn’t much background info on these climbers but when they had their downtime between the climbs, the background info comes in at very appropriate times. For example, 2 of the climbers start working together on climbs and shoots and they expand on each climber as to what their forte is. And the things these guys go through is stranger than fiction, surviving through perilous falls and avalanches and yet they still have that drive and passion to continue climbing and challenging themselves.
So this doc was conducted through actual climbing footage and interviews. The interviews were placed throughout and were done well. They also had Into Thin Air’s author, Jon Krakauer, sit in for interviews. I enjoyed his interviews much more than the others because he was much more relaxed and casual whereas the rest of the interviewees felt a bit tense (but I guess it’s what happens when you are a bestselling author, with all those book tours and interviews). The greatest thing here is that even though it is a documentary, it still has some really epic and crazy visuals. And the visuals are captured through GoPro’s and just wide shots and the like makes it a really pretty film. It helps a lot as well when you have the cast who themselves are pros in their field in both climbing and cinematography and photography. They know where the shots and how to get them properly. And when one of them is even the director, it lends itself very easily to have their vision translate without fault onto the big screen.
All in all, this was a great documentary on climbers and their climbs. Done well in terms of having actual climbing footage and the interviews added more depth and perspective as the climbers faced different challenges and issues. This documentary isn’t simply one about a climb up Meru’s Shark Fin but rather a look into the minds of driven climbers. You get a sliver of perspective as to why these guys do what they do. I mean seriously, if you survived an avalanche, it’s gonna be a while or even never again will you get back up on a climb. It’s traumatic stuff and yet these guys just get back into gear and start the climb once again.