Everest (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Everest (2015) Directed by Baltasar Kormákur. With Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright and Michael Kelly.


Mountains make great movie stars. They just can’t fail with their mysterious, dominating presence. Mountains are timeless and forever, but difficult to negotiate with and unpredictable, especially the Daddy-mountain of them all…the highest on Earth: Everest. Baltasar Kormákur’s film is based on the events that took place during a series of commercial expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest in 1996.

With an impressive ensemble cast, headed up by Jason Clarke (he keeps getting these big gigs), the film boasts some compelling cinematography by Salvatore Totino which does a fine job of describing the beauty and danger of the landscape.

In the past, I have found Jason Clarke to be a bland leading presence, but here, he’s the glue that holds Everest together (said out of context, there’s a claim!). Perhaps it’s partly because we’re on ‘based on a true story‘ ground, but I found myself caring a lot about what happened to him, and the people he’s trying to guide up and down the mountain. The moment the flick was switched and I became invested, was during a pre-climb telephone conversation with his wife (Keira Knightley – yeah, he wishes!). It’s something that’s often overlooked in these big, ambitious films, but sometimes, a minor moment of genuinely played drama can go a long way.

It’s curious how much acting talent shows up to do not very much in Everest. Both Robin Wright and Keira Knightley literally phone their performances in, while Emily Watson, John Hawkes and Jake Gyllenhaal are in nominal roles, considering the depths of their respective screen talents. There’s Josh Brolin and Sam Worthington too, indeed, the film does suffer from feeling a little crowded, at times, as director, Kormákur, seems to fight a losing battle over who or what he should place the most importance on.

In summary, there is a lot to admire about the breathtaking spectacle of Everest, between the seamless use of CGI and on-location cinematography. In terms of storytelling and character, it’s muddled and dawdles in the build up to the expedition, for the first 40-or-so-minutes. Once the trip begins in earnest, though, the film finds its purpose and evolves into an absorbing battle for survival, amid heartfelt feelings of tragedy and triumph. 3.5/5


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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12 Responses to Everest (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. This looks so good based on this. I really want to see it. I just hope I don’t get bored in “the first 40-or-so minutes.”

  2. R.L. Terry says:

    I was definitely impressed by the cinematography and overall visual elements in the movie, but the story just didn’t grab me. To me, it felt more like an IMAX NatGeo special that you would watch in an IMAX Dome at a science museum than a true cinematic story.

  3. Dan O. says:

    Cast is good, even though the characters don’t have much to work. Same goes for the visuals. Nice review.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you Dan, I spent portions of the film confused, and I thought the director seemed equally confused about what he was focusing on, although it found its shape in the latter stages.

  4. This was the first movie I watched in IMAX and I really enjoyed the experience. I don’t think the director and cinematographer did a good enough job in delivering the breathtaking visuals of Everest – I never felt like I was on top of the world. Definitely agree that Jason Clarke is this movie’s beating heart. Good review, really like the comment on mountains being great characters

    • garethrhodes says:

      I’m still an IMAX virgin, partly because I suspect it’ll give me motion sickness and I’ll end up spending half the film hurling chunks into a public toilet bowl. Eurgh! Sorry for that graphic description. Thank you very much, I have had previous issues with Jason Clarke, but he’s good here.

  5. bloggeray says:

    Great review, again!

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