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The inherent drama of men and mountains has spurred in recent years a
glut of TV and film that has blossomed with the technological
advancements of our time and the "look at me" attitude pervading
society so that everyone with a Go-Pro can film their adventures for
the world to see. From Youtube channels of independent climbers filming
their routes to big money TV shows that bring the adventurers' lives to
our living rooms, the world of mountain climbing and adventure sports
in general seems caught in contradictions. Always underlying the
contradictions is the simple question of why? Do these individuals risk
life and limb for their fame, for sponsors, for a TV deal or out of a
unique personal desire and will that drives them into the wild.
The British climber George Mallory who died while attempting Everest
back in the 1920s famously responded to the question of Why? with
"because it is there". For the next 100 years, many climbers have tried
to give better answers, and in Meru, we have a compelling combination
of narrative and visual imagery that may result in the best answer of
The narrative stands apart from other films and documentaries in that
it is not completely linear and veers off course to give the viewers
appropriate back stories to inject meaning and under currents to the
climbers' motivations. You get to know the climbers as people, and with
that understanding, I think it becomes easier for anyone, including
people who have never set foot on a snowy ledge, to understand why
these people climb mountains.
The technical climbing is filmed by Jimmy Chin (both climber and film
director) in a way that I have simply never seen before. As a climbing
enthusiast, the shots of these guys on the walls of ice and rock are
astounding, gut-wrenching and for me, completely inspiring. The organic
relationship of the climbing team, their histories and ultimately their
trials on the snow and rock of Meru expand on many common
mountaineering themes - mentors, sponsors, risk analysis and
contemplating death both yours and your friends.
Jon Krakauer is not my favorite voice in this world, but he is a voice
that is adept at translating the mountaineering world to laymen, and
his role in this film is served well. In the end, I strongly recommend
this film for everyone. For those that can understand the motivation to
be the first to stand atop a peak, you will not be disappointed. For
those that can not understand the motivation, you might walk away
finally getting it.
Tags for Meru Full Movie
, Conrad Anker
, Grace Chin
, Jimmy Chin
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