© Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH

U.K./U.S.A./Iceland 2015

Opening 17 Sep 2015

Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
Writing credits: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Principal actors: Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright, Martin Henderson, Tom Goodman-Hill

Climbing Mount Everest is a dream for millions of people. Unfortunately, climbing Mount Everest has become big business with hundreds of people scouring the slopes, all intent on spending a few moments at the famous summit. Overcrowding has contributed to numerous deaths on the mountain. This film, based on the true story told in the book Left for Dead by Beck Weathers details the journey of two tour groups that join together to take advantage of a small window of opportunity to summit Everest. When there is an unforeseen delay on the trail and a storm arrives earlier than expected, twelve climbers perish. But Beck Weathers (played by Josh Broslin), twice left for dead, survives. This film retells the adventures of a group led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and the other by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), by dramatizing the stories of those who climbed for money or their own very personal reasons, and how they managed to live or came to die.

Just how it might look and feel to be climbing the highest mountain in the world is certainly extremely difficult to intimate on a small theater screen. But the stunning cinematography of Salvatore Totino, combined with the technique of 3D, does make for thrilling panoramic views and breathtaking scenes, such as an avalanche that threatens Weathers teetering on a ladder that crosses a seemingly bottomless abyss. There is clearly a sense of overcrowding in the base camps where climbers party in large tents at night, as well as on the trails where often tethered together the climbers trudge through ice, snow and bitter wind during the day. While the climbers contemplate the summit from their own private perspective, the guides consider logistics of how to get so many people to reach the summit to insure their business is successful.

This superb film presents a way to experience the at times terrifying, heartbreaking and euphoric moments the challenge of climbing Everest can bring without risking life and limb. (Mary Nyiri)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.