The star-studded biographical drama has become a staple of the annual release schedule, but for the most part it tends to be confined within the realm of awards-baiting prestige pictures or biopics precision engineered to stand the best shot at scooping as many prizes as possible. Not a lot of them offer an old fashioned adventure film tinged with real life tragedy, which is what makes 2015’s Everest stand out from a crowded pack.
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who made his Hollywood debut on Mark Wahlberg action thriller Contraband, which was bizarrely enough a remake of a 2008 Icelandic film that Kormákur had produced and played the lead role in, Everest tells the gripping story of the 1996 disaster that saw eight climbers lose their lives trying to climb the world’s highest mountain.
Part dramatic retelling and part survival thriller, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke play the leaders of two expedition groups from America and New Zealand respectively, who put their friendly rivalry to one side when things take a turn for the deadly. The positively stacked ensemble also features Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Michael Kelly, Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Debicki, Vanessa Kirby and Sam Worthington.
Everest was a decent-sized critical and commercial success, landing a 73% score on Rotten Tomatoes and earning $203 million at the box office on a $55 million budget, and it’s now experiencing a resurgence on Netflix. The tension-fuelled tale has been steadily climbing up the most-watched list, and it offers a gripping two hours of entertainment that deftly balance sweeping vistas and strong performances with anxiety-inducing set pieces and serious emotional heft, making it well worth checking out on the platform.