'Everest' movie review: Beautifully shot, if predictable, action-thriller
The true story adventure-thriller "Everest" (opening in IMAX 3D screens on Sept. 18) is a beautifully shot achievement in cinematography that is somehow gripping from start to finish despite its predictable story beats..
In short: Respected mountain climber Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) leads a group of mountain climbers - which includes arrogant doctor Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), mailman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes) and journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly) - in an ill-fated 1996 summit of Mount Everest. Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, Emily Watson, Robin Wright and Keira Knightley also star. (watch the trailer)
"Everest" truly deserves to be experienced in 3D in the IMAX format. The large screen format impressively captures the scale and scope of the daunting mountain, while also firmly establishing a setting that is equally awesome and terrifying. And the filmmakers should prepare for some Award Season love - "Everest" features some jaw-dropping and incredible cinematography that beautifully fills the large format screen.
Find showtimes for "Everest"
Sadly, that will be the only award season recognition "Everest" can expect. To this film's credit, "Everest" is a well-paced film that maintains a constant momentum - but it is also very predictable. By the end of the first act, the film absolutely tips its hand, strongly hinting at which characters will survive the third act. Dropping such heavy hints does this thriller no favors.
While "Everest" boasts an impressive ensemble cast -- it also largely wastes said cast. Gyllenhaal, Worthington, Watson, Wright and Knightley (three of which are Academy Award nominees) are grossly underutilized - their characters are pretty thin benchwarmers who essentially just react to bad news. Clarke, Brolin, Hawkes and Kelly play characters who at least take action and move the story along -- the supporting characters simply exist to push a plot point forward or acknowledge a real-life character or event. Gyllenhaal and Worthington's characters are so pointless that had this movie been a work of fiction then their characters would have been completely cut.
Final verdict: "Everest" is a cinematic spectacle worthy of the IMAX experience. But this film's deficiencies in storytelling and character development prevent this real-life tragedy adaptation from being anything more than a pretty looking action thriller.
"Everest" opens in IMAX theaters Sept. 18 and in theaters nationwide Sept .25. This dramatic thriller is rated PG-13 (for intense peril and disturbing images).