An exciting, beautiful, courageous yet ultimately sad movie. I’m sorry for any implied spoilers, but this film is definitely worth a watch. I’ve always been fascinated about people’s desire to take on death-defying adventures. I enjoy hiking and the feeling of strength as my body is being challenged, so I appreciate this kind of action. It makes me want to climb the mountain, but I would likely perish before reaching the first camp.
The film is based on the 1996 Mount Everest expedition led by Adventure Consultants, a New Zealand adventure company founded by Rob Hall, who is played by Jason Clarke. (The other real-life founder, Gary Ball, is not featured in the movie.) Among the great ensemble cast are Josh Brolin as Beck Weathers, a seasoned climber; Jake Gyllenhaal as Scott Fischer, a popular American expedition group leader; Keira Knightley as Rob’s wife; and Michael Kelly as Jon Krakauer, a journalist. The multinational group is obviously experienced and motivated to reach the summit.
Before climbing to Everest, the group has to acclimate their bodies to the high altitudes and remember some key points. For example, if they find themselves exhausted, short of breath and suddenly starting to feel hot in the dangerous cold air, then that can be a sign their bodies are actually starting to freeze. For those lucky enough to reach the top, another concern is not stay too long or risk passing out or being blown from the summit. They also learn that climbers may cough up blood as their bodies are deprived of oxygen or if they have not reached a certain point of acclimation; typically that means turning back. A combination of certain events makes this particular expedition go awry, leaving us amazed how some humans can sometimes beat nature—even though the mountain always has the last word.
Definitely more scary scenes than some of those Naked and Afraid episodes. Oops, not talking about that here.