Author : Glenn Misztal
Distributor : Madman Entertainment
Directed by Nick Ryan
“For every two climbers that set out to conquer the K2, one will die trying.”
Movie : 2.5/5
I have a confession to make : I’m not an outdoor person. At all.
I’d rather curl up with a nice steaming cup of coffee and a good book (or movie) rather than get outside for any kind of physical activity. That said, the Summit was a very challenging movie for me to review.
The Summit (2012) is a documentary movie that chronicles a 2008 expedition to the K2 in Pakistan.
18 Climbers went over the K2. Only 7 returned.
So many questions run through your mind when watching a film like this: What went wrong? Are these people crazy to do this? Why did these people decide to do this?
The Summit puts together a good explanation in this case of why people do the things they do, why the people who love them support what they do and what went wrong on this expedition. It is said in the documentary that only experienced climbers that have climbed Mt Everist and other mountains went on this expedition. These guys aren’t just drunk thrill-seekers that wanted to tick one box off the bucket list. These folks have a real love of mountain climbing, love a challenge and it shows when they talk about it.
Upon first watching the movie, this switch between real footage and re-enactments is not so obvious, but as time goes on, it’s easier to tell which is which thanks to shaky camera work and multiple camera angles.
As interviews roll on, the climbers try to draw you into their world and environment on the K2. They explain the harsh environment they are facing, the elements they are up against and the conditions their minds are bodies are under. Some of it is shown through X-Rays of their lungs and brains and how they are effected in such air-thin environments. Others show their fingers and toes being affected by frostbite. Others still go without sleep because they know if their do, they will lose their lives. However, its very clear why things went wrong according to the people interviewed in the documentary. The climbers explain the situation clearly and said that heavy snow and other things were amongst the team. To be honest you can’t help but think there is a bit of finger-pointing going on in some of the interviews. There are times in the movie when you ask yourself those questions again : ‘What on Earth are these people thinking?’, but you have to remember - just as you and I live for the things we do everyday, so these adventurers live for what they do.
The film did wear me down emotionally and just when things can’t get worse, they do - team member after team member loses their life to the K2. I don’t feel the movie was nerve-wracking as it claimed on the cover. I just felt sad for every time someone lost their life. Just seeing these climbers die one after the other is disheartening and disturbing at the same time (even though some scenes are re-enactments). More disturbing than any scene horror movie can offer - these are real people.
Video : 2.5/5
Shot in a 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen Aspect Ratio, I’m sure in a movie cinema this would be breathtaking to watch. The cinematography of the scenes shown is beautiful. Mostly made up of white snow-filled mountains of the K2 the DVD of ‘The Summit’ is also limited to DVD technology. The video isn’t so clear as some graininess and diagonal pixelation is clearly evident at times. I’m unsure if this because some of the videos are re-enactments and others are actual footage shot by the climbers using their cameras on the expedition, whilst retiring for the night inside their tents and on the climb. Being a DVD release I’m not so sure a blu-ray release could offer any improvement on this.
Audio : 2.5/5
The discs audio utilises Dolby Digital sound.
Again, integrating re-enactments and real footage, The Summit overlays these scenes with orchestral and electronic music. You can hear the avalanches rolling and the ice breaking loudly. The music by Nick Seymour is very haunting as well - he also makes a point to use music during a scene of devastation or whenever a climber loses their life.
Extras : 3/5
The Disc comes with Four ‘Behind the Scenes’ Special Features. :
- Test Shoot
- Reconstructions - I found this one the most interesting as they were attempting to re-enact some scenes.
- Filming K2
- Music by Nick Seymour
- Theatrical Trailer.
Overall : 2.5/5
A very emotional, non-therapeutic movie. If you're after a tension reliever, this isn't it. I found myself thinking back to when I saw ‘Vertical Limit’ (another K2 movie) in the cinema, but I had to remember : this is real life.
BUY FROM MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT