This is an intense film, tough to watch, beautifully filmed and inspiring all kinds of thoughts. Well worth going to see. I was going to write a full review but instead I realised that we already had one in the Solas magazine. Mark Hadley’s excellent review is below. This is the kind of thing that the Solas magazine does so well…why not subscribe now?:
RELEASE DATE: September 2015
GEORGE Herbert Mallory, the legendary British climber who died scaling the world’s highest mountain, was asked: “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” He famously replied: “Because it’s there.”
My mountain-climbing friends regularly use a variation of the same quote. Halfway up cliffs they often ask each other: “Why do we climb mountains?” And the answer comes back: “Because we’re not all there.”
Together, these lines summarise the determination and lunacy required to pit yourself against peaks that reach to the top of the world. Both qualities are on display in a new film about the men who dare to challenge Mount Everest.
Everest deserves the cliché “star-studded”, with a cast swelled by A-listers like Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin and Sam Worthington. Its story can be summarised in a sentence: “34 climbers who tackle the summit of Everest find their return journey through the heart of a freak storm will prove their greatest challenge of all.”
Everest is based on the true story of the 1996 “Mount Everest Disaster”, during which eight people from various expeditions succumbed to the elements due to a combination of crowded routes, poor planning and naked ambition.
The philosophical focus of the film is the tension arising between those who celebrate the “triumph of the human spirit” and those who recognise we are merelyflesh and blood. Everest records many heroic moments, and many allowances are made for the men and women who balanced their lives against the danger. But it’s worth remembering, even as we celebrate their survival, that we don’t draw our meaning from our ability to endure or overcome. As inspiringas elements of Everest can be, the Bible reminds us: “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength” (Psalm 33:16 NIV).
God did not make mountains to provide human beings with the opportunity to display how great they are. Everest is a testament to his power, not ours. • Mark Hadley