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Everest (2015)


Two things, as Denis Leary used to say, before he became a serious Actor. One:  Titanic had a very good structure (I’m referring to the film, obviously). We all know what happened. We pretty much know how it happened, but in the film’s first half hour we are brought bang up to date with the best technology telling us exactly how everything went down. Literally. So when everyone was faced with the cataclysm, we had already stored all that in our brains and were able to focus on the plight of the victims and not where the hull was, and why, and why the nearest ship didn’t respond to an SOS (bastards.) Two: scholar Hannah Hamad wrote a brilliant book a couple of years ago on postfeminism and paternity in American films in which she basically argues that male protagonists get away with EVERYTHING if they’ve spawned a child.  In other words, fatherhood is a shortcut to signify ACHIEVEMENT. (Motherhood – not so much. This we know.) This is all by way of saying that this problematic supposedly true account of a disaster in which 8 men (bearded fathers all, practically) died, commences with a medical description of what happens to people dying on mountains – cerebral and pulmonary oedema. And freezing to death. So we know what to expect. Until someone just – falls off. This looks probably like it should in reality – unclear, but it’s a movie, and the lack of visual clarity is a hindrance. Characterisation is bulked up with desperate phonecalls home to little wifey, manned by Emily Watson with an Aussie accent, tearful. As you would be, if your entire tour bus died at your hands. And Jason Clarke is the main guy. Problematic again if you don’t like him – did anyone really think he was adequate as the lead in the Planet of the Apes sequel – after James Franco?! As a wise unbearded man says at the beginning of the great adventure, Mountains always have the last word.


About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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