A thrilling, but frustrating experience – Everest review

The brilliance of cinema is that there is something out there for everyone. Needing a good laugh? I’ll find you a film. Wanting a good love story? I’ll find you a film, just not Twilight. Fancy a film that’s going to keep you on the edge of your seat, and get the adrenaline pumping? I’ll find you a film, and that film is Everest.

Everest is based on the true story of the 1996 Everest disaster, focusing on Rob Hall, a commercial mountaineering leader, and his climb on said mountain with a large group. Despite making this climb various times, this time it doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who’s previous worked ranged from action comedies such as 2 Guns and foreign survival film The Deep, I was curious to see how he handled such an ambitious project.

Now I won’t lie, the film does have both positives and negatives. So let’s start with the positives.

In terms of cinematography, the film is absolutely spot on. I saw this film at Glasgow Science Centre’s IMAX theatre, which enhanced the setting to new heights. It truly does place you right on the mountain. Gorgeous, serene but ultimately terrifying, it couldn’t have been shown to me in a better way. The combination of this with special effects at points make it a truly thrilling experience – to an extent.


The main lead Jason Clarke is fantastic. I really do feel he is an underrated actor. For someone with quite an impressive roster under his belt, there are many people that don’t really know who he is. If you’re curious about his previous performances, check out Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and even Zero Dark Thirty – for a smaller role he certainly brings a lot of impact.

Other cast members bring something to offer as well. Josh Brolin acts as the arrogant testosterone fuelled climber, with a few touching moments as well. But the cast, or at least how the cast is presented is Everest’s huge issue. Jake Gyllenhaal unfortunately seemed to get lost in the edit, despite both trailers and the poster showcasing him as a lead. Don’t have an issue with his performance, but he was very under utilised throughout the film. For someone with immense star power, you would think he’d have a major presence. Alas this wasn’t the case. Perhaps Kormákur couldn’t decide on how to utilise his cast.


This problem is what makes Everest so damn frustrating. Despite the fact the setting alone should provide thrills, the lack of a powerful central character takes the film down a notch. Although Jason Clarke is great, his presence isn’t impactful enough to last the two-hour running time. There were points during the film with little moments of magic between Gyllenhaal and Clarke, which should have been developed further into the story line.

Also, with it being the type of film it is, of course various character’s feelings need to be captured. However, this results in cluttered sub-par performances which make the narrative a little bit messy.

So to sum it up, I wont lie and say I didn’t enjoy Everest. There were a few particular moments where the entire audience gasped in horror at what we saw. Moderately emotional scenes may draw a few tears out of those easy criers out there, but don’t go in looking for something in the leagues of Gravity and Touching the Void. Appreciate the craft of Everest, its depiction of an incredible story, and a place that is not only beautiful, but also deadly.

Rating: Gid

Check out the trailer below:

What do you think? Is Everest just as good as the likes of Gravity? Let me know in the comments below or send a tweet using the widgets to @frew_cameron.

Published by

Cameron Frew

Freelance film writer. Words on Flickering Myth, Bloody Disgusting, Movie Corner UK and Jumpcut Online. My five favourite films are: 1. The Goonies 2. Forrest Gump 3. The Shawshank Redemption 4. Warrior 5. Whiplash

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