I very rarely go to movies anymore. I think the last time I went was at least three years ago. I really don’t like the crowds, the commercials, the noise.

But Everest is the first movie that has come along in a long time that I was interested in seeing in the cinema. I’m not sure why, I think because I already knew the story and was interested in seeing how they put it together. And it was Monday night, so the cinema would be deserted.

Well, I thought it was just great; I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.* I have read Krakauer’s and Weathers’ books and as far as I can tell the movie followed events very closely. No Hollywood bullshit that I could see (the only part that looked like Hollywood bullshit was Rob Hall’s dying phone conversation with his pregnant wife, but of course that really happened). The special effects were amazing, a completely seamless combination of sound stage, location and CGI. Finally, and best of all, there was no big “message” to the film: it was simply a dramatic retelling of events. What a relief.

I haven’t read Anatoli Boukreev’s book, which I understand was an answer or a response to Krakauer’s. Having based most of my understanding of the 1996 disaster on Krakauer’s account, I was surprised to see the Krakauer character being a lot less heroic than I remember from his book! I guess that’s because the movie is based on multiple sources, including Boukreev.

They necessarily had to focus on one central character, and for that they chose Rob Hall, who’s story was more interesting anyway. So Scott Fischer is really a fairly minor character in the movie. Boukreev is too. Beck Weathers was a bigger character (I told Ingrid when I read his book that he sounded like a bit of an asshole, and indeed that’s how he was played)

Ingrid was curled up in her seat most of the time, shaking her fists and muttering, “Go! Go! Go! Get down!” at the screen. Afterwards she said she felt “beat up.” It was certainly an intense experience.

I don’t know whether this movie will ignite more interest in climbing Everest or put more people off the idea.

 

* Well, Ingrid did ask, “How come they keep taking off their masks and goggles?” I suggested it was so we could recognize the actors.