For the last two years, the opening film at the Venice Film Festival has gone on to glory at the Academy Awards.
In 2013 it was Gravity that opened the festival, going on to score 7 Oscars including Best Director.
In 2014, Birdman blazed a trail from the festival to the awards, earning four statues at the Oscars, including best director for Alejandro González Iñárritu.
This year Everest screened out of competition on September 2nd, several weeks ahead of it’s worldwide release later this month.
It may well cap off a phenomenally successful year at the box office for distributor Universal, with the company enjoying it’s own “march to glory”.
Everest is the story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster where an unprecedented volume of climbers, combined with severe weather caused the deaths of 8 people on various ill-fated summit attempts.
With numerous books detailing differing versions of events, the film draws it’s story primarily from Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest by Beck Weathers, played in the film by Josh Broiln.
The film focuses on the rivalry between two expedition groups, Mountain Madness led by Scott Fischer (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), and Adventure Consultants led by Rob Hall (played by Aussie Jason Clarke).
$65K is the fee each climber has paid for an guided climb up the perilous mountain, which frankly is not my idea of a good time.
The idea of climbing a mountain like Everest is my worst nightmare. I hate heights and snow and I enjoy being alive.
So for the majority of us “non-mountain climbers”, the film Everest lets you take part in a near death experience and live to tell the tale.
As you’ve no doubt gathered from the trailer, the already dangerous climb becomes extremely hazardous as an enormous storm rolls uop the valley towards the peak, which is filled with climbers from different groups.
The night before watching this, storms lashed Sydney and my house literally shook with thunder so I could appreciate the sheer terror of being caught in inclement weather in a bad location. Like 8 kilometers up the side of a mountain.
Filmed in part in the Italian Alps, and in Nepal, Everest showcases breathtaking settings as a backdrop to unfortunate errors that leave the groups in grave peril as they are literally stuck on the side of the mountain unable to go up or down, and fast running out of oxygen..
It can be a little Game of Thrones, trying to tell one bearded character from another, so pay close attention to the different outfits they wear.
Like Gravity, this is an incredible film that highlights the extreme limits of human endurance and draws upon the physical and emotional prowess of it’s impressive cast to male you hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
4 & ½ Stars.