The new film Everest starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin is based on the true story of the fatal May 1996 expedition on Mount Everest. Many things went wrong. Facing a fast-arriving blizzard, several bad decisions were made by “chaotic leadership.” Five climbers died on Mt. Everest’s South Col route. One of the survivors, journalist Jon Krakauer, wrote about the expedition in his best-selling book, Into Thin Air. (In Everest, Michael Kelly of House of Cards plays Krakauer.)
Fellow journalist David Roberts, who covered Everest regularly for National Geographic, gives the film’s special effects a thumbs up — “the snazziest special effects ever marshalled for an action flick capture the realities of cold, wind, hypoxia, and serac collapse,” – however, Roberts says there’s a better climbing movie. Roberts suggests the low-budget film Meru — “one of the finest climbing films ever made. And it’s a genuine documentary, not a historical drama.” That’s Meru, as in Mounta Meru in the Himalayas. “If you want to see climbing at its most astonishing, and drama at its most genuinely wrenching, see Meru. It’ll leave you exhilarated rather than exhausted.” P.S. Krakauer is also featured in Meru.