When I'm not screening piles of CVs

I'm at the movies or writing reviews


Written by Joy Dembo on . Posted in 2015

Everest is everything you would expect from an Epic Movie… and more!

I was lucky enough to see this incredible account of the 1996 Everest disaster on the IMAX screen and in 3D, and what an incredible experience that was! It was like being on that mountain.

We have all seen documentaries on the Himalayas and Everest, but this movie graphically depicts the perilous climb to the summit of the highest peak in the world. And, to be honest, my sentiments are that one has to be insane to take on this mighty mountain, but to those who thrive on perilous and treacherous challenges, summiting Everest is the ultimate accomplishment.

To this end, experienced New Zealand mountaineers Rob Hall (played by Jason Clark) and Scott Fischer (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who had summited Everest a number of times, climbed on the Everest bandwagon, and became known for guiding climbers from all over the globe to the summit. Clients laid out vast amounts of money to join their expeditions to the summit of Everest.


Accompanied by an accomplished team of Sherpa’s, the two lead their 1996 expeditions up the mountain, through acclimatisation, up to Base Camps 1, 2, 3 and 4, and up the Hilary Step to the summit. Other teams were making their way to the summit at the same times (coincidentally one being a South African team), but they turned back at Base Camp 4 as conditions were not ideal). Hall and Fischer decided to combine their teams and push on.

Besides the obvious perils, including lack of oxygen, climbing across bottomless crevasses using ladders and rope, scaling sheer walls of ice and snow, braving way below freezing temperatures, Hyperthermia and frost bite, the climbers were hit by a violent storm, which claimed many of their lives.

There is an intensely human and highly emotional theme running throughout the movie, including the love between Hall and his pregnant wife, Jan (played by Keira Knightly), the tension between Becks Weathers (Played by Josh Brolin), an American Physician and his wife, Peach, and the passion of the climbers who were all obsessed with summiting, for one reason or another. Also key in this graphic true story is the selflessness of Hall, who could have saved himself but put his clients before his own safety.

The movie was directed by Baltasar Kormakur and written by Simon Beaufoy and William Nicholson.

This film left me pensive for days, and spurred me on to research the lives of Hall’s Widow and the daughter he never met. I also felt obliged to research the lives of the victims and the survivors and therein lies the uniqueness of this movie. This is not Hollywood, these are real people who went through a horrendous and tragic real life catastrophe. This movie highlights their tenacity and bravery and the effect it had on their families. Rob Hall’s widow, Jan Arnold, a medical doctor, and accomplished mountaineer in her own right, was impressed with the film adaptation of her husband’s disastrous expedition, and that says a lot about the authenticity of the film.

Distributed by Universal Pictures, Everest opens at cinemas countrywide on 17 September 2015. If you see one movie this year, this would be my recommendation. And, if you are able to get to an IMAX Theatre, do so. It’s worth the effort.

Add comment

Security code