Based on a true story, North Face is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation's ... See full summary »
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Based on a true story, North Face is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation's Alpinists to conquer the unclimbed north face of the Swiss massif - the Eiger - two reluctant German climbers begin their daring ascent. Written by
As Luise Fellner and her boss, Herr Arau, arrive at the Eiger, the local guides are standing in front of the hotel advertising their services to the tourists. One of the guides notices a pair of climbers in the crowd. "Look who's coming," he says, "Bartolo Sandri and Mario Menti." A fellow guide mutters: "Another couple of fools. Come in a train and leave in a coffin." These two Italian climbers fell to their deaths from the north face June 21, 1938. See more »
At the beginning of the film, when Luisa watches the news in the cinema theater, the voice-over gets the first-names of the alpinists who died on the Eiger wrong. It says Max Mehringer and Karl Sedlmayr, but it's the opposite: KARL Mehringer and MAX Sedlmayr. This may have been intended to show the unreliability of the report. See more »
[in German, quoting English subtitles]
When you're at the bottom - Toni once told me - at the foot of the wall, and you look up, you ask yourself: How can anyone climb that? Why would anyone even want to? But hours later when you're at the top looking down, you've forgotten everything. Except the one person you promised you would come back to.
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Limited in scope, but nearly flawless within those bounds.
North Face (2008)
Well, this is one exhausting, harrowing, amazing experience on film. Even the actors, acting and not actually fighting for their lives, look like they've been through hell. The filming holds back nothing on the horror of being caught in a storm on the infamous North Face of the Eiger, in the Alps. These very talented, likable chaps (even though Germans just before WWII, yes), are up against it big time. And the movie makes the most of it.
It's a simple story, and a simple structure, contrasting the comfortable press corps down below with their fireplaces and wine, against the men on the cliff, night and day. A woman and a love story are a part of it as we go, but this is more a love/hate story of men against each other, against themselves, and against the mountain, weather systems included.
It's a relief to see a movie without heroes. There is a lot of heroism, for sure, and admirable human behavior up and down. But none of the throbbing music as one or the other of the men performs an impossible feat. This is about a real life and death confrontation, and breakdown, and impossibility. Well done, well done. High frustrating and nerve wracking to watch, but well done.
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