21:00 September 18, 2015

*** out of ****

Everest has an all-star cast and I imagine the poster would mimic a 1970s Irwin Allen disaster movie poster with the photos of each of the actors lining the bottom. But there is a big difference between this true story and the craptastic disaster pictures (The Towering Inferno, When Time Ran Out...) of cinema past. While Allen grotesquely anticipated the thrill of dispatching most of the cast in grisly ways, Everest has a sense of humanity in its story of tragedy and survival.

On May 10, 1996, two climbing expeditions reaching the summit of Mount Everest – the highest point on Earth – are caught in a violent blizzard. Jason Clarke and Jake Gyllenhaal play the guides and Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Michael Kelly are among the civilians making the climb. Keira Knightley and Robin Wright are the worried wives waiting by the phone.

Baltasar Kormákur's film takes its time getting started, and the ending is somewhat abrupt, but the drama of the situation is told in a straightforward manner and the blizzard scenes on the mountain will have you on the edge of your seat. This is a movie you must see in IMAX 3-D because of the depth of field, especially in shots hovering above the mountain and looking straight down. Sure, some digital effects were employed, but there are many real shots that are gorgeous and terrifying at the same time.

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