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Everest

"With its perilous central premise and gallery of individuals some of whom are destined not to make it, you could say Everest is a disaster movie in the old Hollywood sense of the term, but it doesn't feel like one. And that's a good thing." - Hollywood Reporter

“An all-star disaster movie lineup makes a surprising showing in the mountaineering thriller “Everest,” combining to deliver the sort of restrained drama you might expect from a much smaller film. Unnervingly vertiginous visuals are the real draw, still, director Baltasar Kormákur  and his cast craft a lean narrative tone that humanizes the action.

“Shot in Nepal and the Italian Alps, the movie dramatizes a fateful 1996 episode in which several climbers died on their stormy descent from Mount Everest’s 28,000-foot peak — at the time, the deadliest such event on record. The story is principally remembered from outdoor writer Jon Krakauer’s bestseller “Into Thin Air,” although the film credits a different firsthand account, Texas adventurer Beck Weathers’s “Left for Dead: My Journey Home From Everest.” Josh Brolin swaggeringly portrays Weathers here, while Michael Kelly plays Krakauer.

“The characters’ primary guide, and ours, is Rob Hall, a serious-minded New Zealand mountaineer whose trailblazing early ’90s success running commercial expeditions on Everest quickly drew imitators. Hall has a full group for his summit push, with Weathers, Krakauer, mailman-turned-climber Doug Hansen, and others. But so do rivals like American expedition organizer Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal), a hang-loose personality first introduced bare-chested, catching some rays at base camp.

“Hall worries that the number of climbers eyeing the same small optimal-conditions window might add chaos to what’s already a plenty dicey undertaking. Fischer agrees. Scenes of the two forging a tenuous, precautionary alliance carry currents of modulated tension and contained expression characteristic of the movie as a whole.

“When Krakauer poses a writerly question pondering why they climb, Hawkes’s regular Joe talks about impossible dreams in a way that’s heartfelt, but not scripted poetry. Death does, to be sure, hang powerfully over the movie’s last act. At a preview screening, whenever there was a cut away from the fury of the climactic storm, there wasn’t a cough or rustling popcorn bucket to be heard. It’s not that kind of disaster movie.” - Tom Russo, Boston Globe

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