The Venice Film Festival launched last year’s Best Picture winner into the Oscar race, and very nearly launched the previous year’s winner, Gravity. It comes on just moments before Telluride and the one-two punch of it hitting big and receiving raves in Venice, coupled with an enthusiastic, hyped up response in Telluride usually drives the momentum through to the end of the year. Of course, no one really thought Birdman could or would win last year, not until the Producers Guild picked it and the rest is Oscar his-story. By putting Everest in there they’re going for a big move, like Gravity I would guess, rather than a smaller move like Birdman. Gravity was big on visual effects – dizzying even — and high on emotions. Anyone who knows the TRUE story of what happened on Everest in 1996 knows that this will also be high on emotions.
Everest is the story of the disastrous journey to the top of Everest when a big storm came in. Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Thin Air is required reading of the event, if you have not yet read it. It is the story of rich people throwing money at the sherpas to get them to the top of the mountain. It is a story of why getting back down off the mountain is far more dangerous than going up. It’s about oxygen tanks, the need for them and the lack of them. It is about teamwork and looking out for your fellow climber and it’s about those who break the codes, clog up the lines and leave lots of dead bodies in their wake. It was a cautionary tale in 1997 when the Krakauer book was released. The earthquake in Nepal this year now holds the record for single day deaths on Everest and can’t be laid at the feet of human error, as the 1996 tragedy could.
I’m very much looking forward to Everest but all must go in not expecting a happy ending. Still, I’m sure it will be thrilling to watch.
Pic is directed by Baltasar Kormákur.
Here is a featurette: