MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo by Universal Pictures
Directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin.
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?” – Luke 14:28 (NRSV)
Jesus is speaking here about the cost of discipleship and reminding those who seek to follow Him that the road will not be an easy one. The Christian faith seems reasonable to most Americans, but it is a faith that exists because of those who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of others, including those first followers of Jesus.
That is a cost worth paying.
Everest recounts the true story about a group of mountain climbers in 1996 that found themselves trapped on the slopes of Mt. Everest in the midst of avalanches and storms. The group, under the direction of Rob Hall (Clarke) included seasoned climbers alongside of amateurs (who paid $65,000 to be trained to make the trek to the top). The expedition company hired Nepalese Sherpas to be the guides, with several base camps established along the way, equipped with provisions and tents. As fate would have it, there were two groups of climbers trying to make it to the top and back during a very short window of time.
The other experienced climber who eventually teams up with them is Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is convinced that mountain climbing is not something that should be commercialized as a competition sport. As one of the experienced guides remarks: “There is competition between every person on this mountain. The last word always belongs to the mountain.”
Everest does a nice job acquainting us with the climbers in a sympathetic fashion. We also spend some time with the family members left behind at home (hitting some of the same dramatic beats as The Perfect Storm); it is the intervention of a rich and powerful family with a stranded climber that amps up the rescue efforts.
Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), a reporter from Outside magazine, was along for the ride and the film implies that his presence may have served as a catalyst for the group to push themselves harder. (His book on that experience, Into Thin Air, is a primary source material for the screenplay.)
As the large 3D screen makes abundantly clear, these mountains are awe-inspiring. This is a film that is filled with great discussion material about the ethical decisions we make. What activities should be considered off-limits for the thrill seeker? What culpability do we have when we encourage others to do something beyond their comfort zone? What risks are worth pursuing? (If no one volunteered for experimental medical treatments – with no guarantee of success – would we have the victories over disease we now take for granted?) Does having enough money to pay for something dangerous create a marketplace to exploit the rich?
Everest is a beautiful, tragic, exciting film about the things that challenge us and the things that should be left unchallenged.
Four halos: A moving meditation on nature’s reckless beauty and humanity’s frustrating attempts to tame it.
Two pitchforks: Some bad choices and bad weather lead to some bad and tragic consequences.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
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