Film, Action and adventure
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(15user reviews)

Baltasar Kormákur’s disaster movie is a physical experience that will leave you breathless – and possibly suffering vertigo

‘Everest’ is an unrelenting real-life disaster movie that strands you near the top of the world’s tallest mountain and dares you to imagine what it must be like to be part of an expedition to the top going horribly, horribly wrong. Its screenwriters, William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, respectively have ‘Gladiator’ and ‘127 Hours’ to their names, and ‘Everest’ combines the muscular, sometimes sentimental force of the former with the sense of being party to an extreme physical endurance that made the latter so successful.

Like ‘Gravity’, another spectacle involving a conflict between humans and a hostile environment never meant for us, ‘Everest’ relies heavily on awe, special effects and 3D. As director Baltasar Kormákur’s camera appears to glide just above the highest ridge of Everest, this mass of rock, snow and ice is just as terrifying and mysterious as the vast blackness of outer space itself.

Based on an actual trip to the summit in 1996 that ended in tragedy, an air of doom hangs over ‘Everest’, forcing you to wonder which of its endearing ensemble cast will make it down alive. The inevitability of death makes it all the more tough to watch. Who, as mountaineering jargon has it, will finish up ‘gone’? Maybe John Hawkes’s gentle, unassuming postman, whose trip is part-funded by school kids? Or Josh Brolin’s millionaire family man from Texas? Or Jason Clarke’s affable team leader? Or Jake Gyllenhaal’s extreme-sports dude? He’s emblematic of the mid-1990s globetrotting outsider culture, which still saw Starbucks as cool and partly led to an explosion of commercial outfits operating on a crowded Everest.

When we’re not squirming at the sight of deathly drops or feeling whipped by the weather, we’re plunged into the emotional distress of those left behind – wives played by Robin Wright and Keira Knightley, and base camp coordinator Emily Watson, who’s manning a satellite phone halfway down the mountain. The film crosses into soppy territory when it forcefully begs our tears, but Kormákur creates such a convincing world – the craft of this film is astonishing – that you’re willing to forgive its less delicate touches in favour of its totally compelling depiction of what it must be like to ascend into a place that’s heaven one moment and hell the very next.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Release date:
Friday September 18 2015
121 mins

Cast and crew

Baltasar Kormákur
Simon Beaufoy, William Nicholson
Keira Knightley
Jake Gyllenhaal
Robin Wright
Jason Clarke

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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There are some films that can be seen on the small screen and then there are those that need to be seen on the big screen in order to be viewed & enjoyed in all their celluloid glory. ‘Everest’ falls squarely into the latter of these two categories and as a long-time doubter of the need for 3D, I’d even go so far as to say if ever a movie was made for both IMAX and 3D, this is it. 

Sadly I missed its cinema release last year but a recent viewing of it on TV has left me convinced I probably couldn’t have handled the emotions of it on such a large screen because make no mistake, this film is hard-core and when it comes to unleashing your emotions, it’s more of a full-on wrangling than a gentle wringing.

There have been some exceptionally strong ensemble casts over the last few years – ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Birdman’ spring to mind – and ‘Everest’ more than holds its own. Led by the always superb Jason Clarke and Jake Gyllenhaal as competitors in the world of Everest climbing companies, the film boasts a class act of a supporting cast; Michael Kelly, Josh Brolin and Emily Watson are particularly engaging, delivering performances that you cannot take your eyes off, Watson’s is especially understated and moving. Based on the devastating true story of a climb in 1996 that went harrowingly wrong, this is a film that seizes you from the first moments and refuses to let you go.

Who will survive? That’s the main question you’ll keep thinking as you watch characters emerge & develop in front of you – the postman back for a second crack at the mountain and doing it for a local school? The 100% Texan beefcake who’s left a rocky marriage to conquer the peak? The petite Japanese lady who’s already ticked off 6 other global summits? The script is superb; empathetic and relatable, I never felt that my emotions were being manipulated which is crucial in a film were the effects might be considered as taking centre stage.

And those effects? Wow. Just wow. There are so many moments of both beauty and horror that made my stomach drop and my heart flutter, not least of all, the bottomless crevice breaching ladders which it seems impossible to even fathom walking over as you recoil from the screen back into the safety of your sofa. The ice, the mountain, the weather, everything is brought together seamlessly but without ever feeling that this is nothing but a CGI love fest and from the moment the storm sets in and you see it from Clarke’s point of view, rolling relentlessly up the mountain toward him, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat.

In this film, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur has crafted a spectacle, full of special effects but still, more importantly, containing heart. It feels wrong to say I loved it given its tragic origins in reality but it’s so rare nowadays to find a film that can meld both of those things into one and as a life-long cinema lover, that is something I will never tire of watching.


Watchable film but lacked any interesting sub-plots. Really was just about a bunch of mountaineers on Everest, which becomes slightly repetitive after a while. Also, could have been more focus on the sherpas'/locals' perspective.  Saw this in IMAX 3D. The IMAX was nice but not convinced about the 3D. 

a great film - I was lucky enough to see it in at Working Titles head office in their ultra plush screening room. If you see it make sure you go for the full 3d experience as there are some amazing camera shots that leave you feeling quite scared.


Being old school, I normally prefer to watch in 2D but this movie work brilliantly in 3D. The cinematography was superb and felt so real it is as if it brought me to Everest. I didn't know much about the event beforehand; I thought the movie unfolded in an easy to follow format, given the complexity of the story (although trying to tell the difference between the many bearded characters was quite difficult). It is a haunting story and I was on the edge of my seat virtually the whole duration and was still shaking after leaving the cinema. I'm definitely going to read up some more about the incident.

I applaud Working Title for breaking new ground and not sticking to the 'Into Thin Air' version of the 1996 Everest tragedy, which is maybe why this book is not in this film's Credits, something that has not gone unnoticed by some professional reviewers. 

Working Title/the Director referred to Jon Krakauer as 'a writer who just happened to be on the mountain at the time'. To learn more about what actually caused this seminal event you will need to read 'A Day to Die For' and 'After the Wind'. Well done Working Title and Baltasar Kormakur for daring to break the mold!

Write a review...I think this subject is much too complicated to be properly explored in the feature film format. As such anyone familiar with the already widely reported events of that day will find the film superficial and unsatisfying.

I also question the filmmakers’ decision to completely whitewash the story of fellow climber Gau Ming-Ho (Makalu) from the film and find it hard not to believe that this decision was based on the fact that he is not a westerner. This kind of cultural imperialism is deeply troubling as anyone viewing the film, without being aware of the larger story, will not even know that such choices have been made.

David Breashear’s 2008 documentary remains the essential filmic account of the disaster.


We saw this in normal 3D just because the timing was more convenient, but looking at the other reviews, it looks like you need the IMAX for the wow factor. 

It was hard to watch, knowing that it was based on a true story, but the cinematography was great.  Everest has never been on my bucket list and it is going to stay firmly off it after watching this film!  It gave an interesting insight into what people go through to get to the top and the frustrations when they get so near and have to turn around when the window of time to get back safely has gone.  I'd never have thought that they would go and buy a few ladders from B&Q and tie them together to make a bridge.

I would recommend going to see this film, but don't go if you need cheering up.


saw this in 3D and I was recommend this or imax as the best way to see this film. I was gripped! I felt so many emotions watching this and the ending just shocked me! Well worth a watch - but wrap up warm!


I am not normally one to spend more on the cinema than I would on a play but for Everest it was worth it.  IMAX 3D is the only way to go in this Epic climb up Mount Everest.  I would suggest if you do not already know the True Story, do not look into it before hand, I was shocked at how it unfolded and left amazed that this actually happened to those on that climb.  It isn't a happy ending for sure but their story is told in a fantastic way and you really feel the struggle.  

I came out of the cinema shivering and a lot of respect for those who attempt this climb.  After seeing Everest I immediately booked a trip to do the Base Camp climb, having been on my bucket list for a while, although I do not think I have it to do the big boy mountain.  

While you do not get each individual back story to the characters you still feel emotionally involved with them all and genuinely feel how difficult and what reaching the top meant for each person.  I did go see this on a date, I would not recommend this as a good date movie, the 3D glasses are not the best look. 

Excellent realistic effects (watched in 3D but not IMAX) and some tough scenes.  Unlike some previous comments, I DID feel emotionally involved with the characters. Would love to know how they made it.

To echo one or two of the earlier contributors, please do see this in IMAX 3D, if possible. The visuals are breathtaking. Other than that, the telling of this powerful true life tale is disappointingly pedestrian. The characters are sketched too thinly for the viewer to truly care whether or not they survive; the family scenes of a couple of the climbers seem tacked-on; and no overall momentum is built up. Certainly one to view on the Big Screen but could have been so much better.



Just to throw a spanner in the works, I thought this was a bit naff. The first half spends a lot of time supposedly building the story, however by the time I got to to the end, I still didn't feel as though I knew much about each of the characters. For example, what compelled Rob Hall to leave his pregnant wife to lead a crew up Everest? I didn't feel that picture was painted clearly enough and if it had been, I might have felt a little more compassion/emotion for them. Each of the 'tragic' moments seemed to slip by without much of the fanfare you'd expect from a big star-studded Hollywood flick, although kudos for the realism. A little disappointing in my view, but maybe another watch will change my opinion


If you are reading this is because you're thinking about going to see this movie so here's some advises first.

This is the movie to spend a few extra £ and see it in IMAX 3D, forget about Avatar or Jurassic World this is the movie!

Prepare yourself for a rush of adrenaline and other emotions, this movie impacts because it's based in a true story and its stunning images.

In the end I left thinking 'why do people put themselves in that position?' but the truth is that we all love adrenaline and to achieve the impossible.

Beautiful movie, A MUST SEE!    


Here's how Netflix might recommend Everest to viewers: "Looking for a film to put the fear of God into you? Here you go... sit back, panic, and endure as you watch people freeze to death or perish due to exhaustion, in real time". 

Seen in IMAX 3D (£14.95, student), Everest took on a whole other dimension (forgive me) as an action adventure thriller, making you not just an observer but a rather a part of the film. Cliched, but IMAX's motto holds true here.

Seasoned blockbuster fans will find thrills here that no number of Fatter and Furriers could ever hope to deliver, binding tragically true events with dizzying panoramic cinematography and, of course, bringing you up close and personal with Mount Everest in all of its unbound majesty. A terrifying film. 

IMAX 3D definitely aided the immersive experience of the film and as someone who enjoys climbing mountains.............well I might not be so keen on the next climb!  I loved every minute of it and Jake Gyllenhaal as the mad mountain man is brilliant. Cinematography, scenery, visuals - just beautiful and I am keen to find out more about how they went about filming the movie.