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Blind climber Erik Weihenmayer and his team's highly successful ascent of Mount Everest along with four other remarkable milestones on the mountain. Time magazine called this the most successful Everest expedition of all time. The film beautifully captures the emotion, drama and humor of this historic climb. Written by
Minor flaws but is a visually impressive account of Weihenmayer's achievement
Erik Weihenmayer was diagnosed with a rare and untreatable disease at age three that saw him gradual lose his eyesight until the point of total blindness at age thirteen. Introduced to climbing early on by his father, Erik decides to join a group of other Americans and achieve what no other blind person has ever achieved by ascending to the summit of the world's highest mountain.
As others have already said, there is an inspirational tale in here about overcoming disability but I'm afraid I must disagree about how well the film brings it out. We have many "perfect" votes for this film and the reviews on this site have hardly a critical word for it and I suspect the reason for this is that they are reviewing the achievement of Weihenmayer more than they are the film itself. The issue I had with it was that the film didn't seem able to bring the theme out at all other than filming the journey to the top itself, there wasn't much more than platitudes about overcoming etc and I didn't think that the design and structure of Brown's film did this side of it justice.
However it is hard to make too big a deal out of this when you watch the film because it is still impressive on many levels. Of course the most obvious thing about the film is the achievement itself, which is amazing for a person with eyesight, far less someone unable to see. The footage is impressive across the whole journey and is amazingly clear and steady at every stage with some specific shots looking great. For me though Brown should have let the spectacle speak for itself rather than using the climbers as much as he did; yes it is emotional for the people doing it but it is difficult for them to put it into words that the viewer sitting at home can appreciate instead they too often come over a bit clichéd.
Overall though, for its minor faults it is still an impressive film that has great footage of a unique journey that is not really about "overcoming" disability so much as just not letting it stand in the way. Having said that though what on earth was achieved by using the dread David Gray so many times during the film?
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