If you think ‘"Fantasia" meets the "Point Break" remake’ sounds like a solid elevator pitch, then 'Mountain', the new film by 'Sherpa' director Jennifer Peedom, is for you. The richness of the soundscape, matched with glorious images of high places that defy gravity, sanity and death – is an intoxicating combination. Mountain is worth it for the music and vision alone, which is a good thing because the poetic narration written by Robert Macfarlane, author of 'Mountains of the Mind', and voiced by Willem Dafoe, never reaches the level of philosophic profundity or emotional realness achieved by the 'Point Break' remake.
The sum total of the film’s narrative content is as follows: Mountains are ancient and indifferent to the labours of humanity, and yet for humankind they can be the ultimate test, of nerve, faith and stamina – a test many do not pass. This sentiment is rephrased over and over with unwavering, gravelly masculinity. The first concrete fact of the film comes a full hour in when we learn Everest has been turned into a sort of extreme sport Disneyland, where the sherpas assume the bulk of the risk.
A script so devoid of content is frustrating from Macfarlane and Peedom, given 'Sherpa' and 'Mountains of the Mind' show both are more than capable of researching robustly and communicating their findings. It's not until the credits that we learn the locations where the film was shot. The score, both original compositions and the works of Vivaldi, Chopin and Beethoven, are perfectly matched to the awe-inspiring imagery and if 'Mountain' had gone full 'Fantasia' and dispensed with commentary entirely it would have been a better film.